It was reported in various media a few days ago that the Sarawak government is planning on erecting a 99m-high flagpole, set to be the highest in Malaysia and costing RM30m.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has the world’s tallest flagpole, measuring 171m, which was built at a cost of only RM21m. Meanwhile, Pretoria, South Africa’s 100m flagpole cost only RM5.4m.
In response to public flak, the Sarawak premier’s office clarified that the RM30m flagpole project is not funded by the Sarawak government. Instead, it will be funded by an unidentified private entity as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Sarawak joining the Malaysian Federation on 16 September 1963.
The CSO Platform for Reform is of the opinion that the construction of this RM30m flagpole is a waste of money and insensitive to the needs of many Sarawakians who face high inflation and rising costs of goods and services. Additionally, many rural residents still lack basic amenities such as water, electricity, roads, access to healthcare and adequate network connectivity.
Hence, the CSO Platform for Reform calls on the Sarawak state government to demonstrate good governance, especially in the approvals for such a project and proper management of funds.
If indeed this is a CSR project, such funds should be used to improve citizens’ quality of life and not be misused to construct overpriced flagpoles. The Sarawak government should encourage private companies to prioritise initiatives that align with the needs and interests of the public.
The CSO Platform for Reform also urges private companies and the state government to be mindful of public interests and align themselves with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s call for responsible spending in the country.
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CSO Platform for Reform (Sarawak Chapter)
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