Saturday, January 17, 2009




Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority(SEDIA)'s Bill 2009 was passed yesterday with several amendments by the State Legislative Assembly.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said SEDIA would be responsible for planning, coordinating , monitoring and implementing programmes and projects gazetted under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

“We decided to amend the bill after listening to the views and proposals from state assemblymen,” he told reporters at a media conference here yesterday.

The debate was adjourned at noon to discuss the amendments. Musa wound-up the debate on resumption at 2.30pm.

Asked whether such a thing was abnormal, Musa said: “No, it is normal and happens from time to time. If their views are good for the people, we will accept. The Barisan Nasional government is very flexible and responsive,” he added.

"Clause 8 (1) (membership) where there will be an extra post, making two deputy chairmen to be appointed by the chief minister who will appoint not more than five members" were some of the amendments made.

Before the amendments, SEDIA was to have seven members namely the chairman (chief minister), State Secretary, Federal Finance Ministry secretary-general or representative, State Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary, Federal Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general or representative and State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director.

Another member was to be appointed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. Before the amendments, the word ‘Yang di-Pertua Negeri’ was replaced with the word ‘Ketua Menteri’ (chief minister).

Jimmy Wong (DAP-Sri Tanjung) had earlier questioned the exclusivity of the seven SEDIA members entrusted with charting the economic future of Sabah.

Melanie Chia (SAPP-Luyang) questioned Clause 25 that shielded SEDIA members from legal action.

“This we had already explained. If a member had done wrong, action will be taken. But if it was done ‘in good faith,’ (while on duty), then no action will be taken.

“If there is any wrong doing and abuse of power, then action can be taken against the members,” he added.

On the criteria of five other SEDIA members, Musa said it would be discussed later adding they could be professionals and members of non-governmental organisations (NGO).

Asked when Sedia would operate, Musa replied, “After it is gazetted, maybe by this month. We want to start as soon as possible, the earlier the better.”

He was confident that the establishment of SEDIA would increase investors’ and businessmen’ confidence in SDC.

Tabling the bill earlier, the chief minister said Sedia would need RM1.8-RM2.5 million to operate annually.

For a start, it would be utilising the RM10 million federal grant for the launch of the corridor. Once it was depleted, the state government would use its funds to operate SEDIA. -BERNAMA-