No different from Mazu issue

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Kota Kinabalu: Penampang MP Darell Leiking on Thursday reminded Penampang District Officer William Sampil to explain the actual status of a "mosque construction project" rumoured to be taking place at Kampung Sedomon along the Penampang By Pass heading towards Kota Kinabalu.

He said Sampil has yet to reply to the query of the people in Penampang through an official letter he sent him on Aug 1 and press statement on Sept 28 this year.

And as an officer of the government, he said, Sampil has the power to approve any development project in this district.

"But his deafening silence over the mosque issue has caused uneasiness and more suspicion within the community of Penampang.

"Why is it so hard for him to give the answer so as to clear all the confusion and uneasiness?" he asked.

He said since he, Moyog Assemblyman, Terrence Siambun and Kepayan Assemblyman, Dr Edwin Bosi, have been barred from taking part or being an observer in the District Planning or of the Penampang District Council's decision making process, Sampil is then answerable to the "mosque" issue.

He said if Sampil were to think that by keeping quiet in the hope that the issue will slowly be forgotten by the public, "Éhe is wrong because this culture of silence by the authorities is exactly what we want to change in Penampang."

Leiking said he, Siambun and Dr Bosi have been advised to be diplomatic but that a letter from Sampil would have sufficed.

"After all, they like us are public servants who are answerable to our respective task," he said.

He said this is what the opposition wants to do in Penampang, to change the non-accountability and non-transparency system within the local government authorities and other government agencies in the district.

The mosque issue, he said, is no different to the stand made by the State government when it was compelled at the request of the public to re-look the Mazu statue in Kudat.

The Mazu statue, he said, was at its construction stage and the government was compelled to intervene after it was alleged that the construction was too sensitive as the community nearby were largely Muslim.

"Hence we understand that the Mazu Statute project was shelved and that an alternative site had been proposed by the government," he said.

From the chronology of events, the concerned constituents and residents of the neighbouring site where the statue was to be erected have raised their concerns and sensitivity, he said.

It is for this reason the Mazu statue project was thereafter cancelled.

"So in all fairness, I don't see any difference between the Mazu statue issue and the mosque issue at the Penampang by-pass," he said.

Daily Express


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