A DAP leader in Sarawak has questioned a plan by the state government to construct a new official residence for the Yang di-Pertua, in a sign that the party is still at loggerheads with the ruling GPS despite their partnership at the federal level.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the state government must be "fully transparent" with its plan to build the new Astana Negeri, to be built near the current residence that was built in 1870.
He urged the government to disclose the cost of the project as well as the company awarded with the job, and whether it was done through an open tender.
"On top of that, they should reveal if it would be more cost-efficient to repair and upgrade the existing Astana building, which in my view, carries much more history and should be retained as the official residence for the head of state to preserve its heritage," said Yii, who is also the DAP Youth chief.
Yesterday, state tourism minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the current Astana Negeri was "run down" and would be turned into a museum of past governors.
The Astana Negeri has served as the official residence of Sarawak governors since 1870 after it was built by the second Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke.
"If the state government can be transparent and justify properly the need for such a project, then perhaps the people of Sarawak would give their support as it would be good for the state.
"If not, there are other priorities and needs in Sarawak, especially in terms of improving basic infrastructure and utilities," he added.
"Even if we have extra revenues or resources, we shouldn't spend them excessively to avoid long-term economic repercussions for all Sarawakians."