SANDAKAN: In fear of drawing flak from the Election Commission (EC), Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (pic) has refused to announce when the planned extension for the Sandakan Airport would begin.
Speaking in Mandarin during a ceramah for the Sandakan by-elections at SM Yu Yuan on Sunday (April 28), Lim pointed out that the RM80.9mil Sandakan Airport expansion project was approved by the Federal government.
“RM20mil will be spent on this project alone this year. We hope the construction will start next month,” he said.
However, he stopped short of giving the actual date the project would commence, saying he was worried of going against the Election Offences Act 1954.
"But this is not good. Then I'll get in trouble with the EC. It's better if I don't say it (the project) will start next month. It's better to say it will start within the year.
"Otherwise, I get into trouble. It's OK for me to get in trouble. But I don't want to get (DAP candidate) Vivian Wong in trouble,” he said.
"I don't want to say when it will start. Let's just say this year, OK? We don't want to break the Election Offences Act," he added.
Should Wong be elected as the Sandakan MP, Lim said it would be her responsibility to ensure that the expansion project is up to standard.
Speaking to reporters after the ceramah, Lim said his announcement was nothing new, as it was one of the announcements in Budget 2019.
“I said the airport (project) would not be next month so there is no misinterpretation,” he said briefly, before leaving the venue.
The airport expansion project is part of the 49 development projects in Sandakan worth RM2.28bil, announced by Lim on April 23.
DAP’s Wong will be up against Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Datuk Linda Tsen in a five-cornered fight with three other independent candidates.
The Sandakan polls was triggered following the death of its incumbent MP Datuk Stephen Wong last March.