Sarawak PH insists GPS state govt to blame for turning away BSH recipients

Chong Chieng Jen today maintained his stand that the state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government had instructed district offices to turn away Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Chong Chieng Jen today maintained his stand that the state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government had instructed district offices to turn away Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Feb 25 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen today maintained his stand that the state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government had instructed district offices to turn away Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients.

He said over the past few days, the district offices have turned away rural folks who have to update information and register for the BSH programme.

“The district offices are supposed to help, but they are not doing it for the rural recipients,” he said when responding to a statement by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah yesterday.

Uggah issued the statement to deny claims by Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, that the district offices of Serian, Bau and Simanggang, had turned away rural folks from registering for BSH programmes, alleging that it was on the instruction of the state government.

Responding to Uggah’s denial, Chong alleged that the directive to district offices and residents’ offices of all administrative divisions was issued by the State Secretary’s Office some time last year and the prohibition also applies to all community leaders.  

“Therefore, the fault lies with the GPS government who put their political interest over and above the people’s interest,” he said, adding that given the change of federal government, the GPS is now fearful of losing their power.

“Once anyone is registered under the BSH programme, a person will continue to receive many other welfare or subsidy benefits initiated by the federal government if the person is qualified.

“Therefore, the registration will give the rural folks access to not only the subsidies and benefits, but also information from the federal government,” he said, adding that this is the way to keep the rural folks abreast with national development programmes and stop patronage politics which was practised by Barisan Nasional, and now the GPS, on the rural folks all these years.

Chong, who is also the Sarawak DAP chairman, said if Douglas is sincere about helping to uplift the rural people and keeping the rural people in the mainstream of national development, then just get the state agencies to register the rural folks into the national systems through the BSH programme.

“However, even if Uggah and the GPS are unwilling to do that, the PH will deploy whatever resources available to us,” he said.