Budget 2020 allocation for Sarawak the biggest so far, says state Pakatan chief

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen described the Budget as business friendly, having very diverse grants and lots of tax exemptions. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen described the Budget as business friendly, having very diverse grants and lots of tax exemptions. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUCHING, Oct 11 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief Chong Chieng Jen has stressed that the allocation for the state under the federal Budget 2020 announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng this afternoon is the largest ever-compared to previous years’ allocations.

“Out of a total RM30 billion Development Expenditure by states, Sarawak gets RM4.5 billion which is 14.8 per cent of the amount,” he said, adding that during the previous Barisan Nasional federal government, there had never been such a high proportion.

He described the Budget as business friendly, having very diverse grants and lots of tax exemptions.

“This will encourage more entrepreneurship. It also provides a clear direction for the economy and business sectors to move towards digitalisation and IR4.0.

“There is also a very strong effort by the government to encourage employment and move away from over-dependence on foreign labour,” Chong, who is also the deputy minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs, said, pointing out that it also provides huge incentives for youth and women employment.

He said most people will have some form of benefits from the Budget.

“It just goes to show that, with a government that is not corrupt, the taxpayers’ money can go a long way in helping the people, the economy and the country to grow.

“I hope that the Sarawak government will work together with the federal government for the implementation of all the projects for which the allocation has been made in the Budget 2020,” he said.

Chong, who is also Sarawak DAP chairman, said he will make the necessary arrangements for the Ministry of Finance’s officers and the relevant agencies of the federal government to brief the business sector in Sarawak of all the grants, facilities and incentives provided in the Budget 2020 so that the Sarawak business sector can optimise the benefits provided.

Meanwhile, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian described the federal Budget as Malayan-centric.

“It fails to keep to the Sarawak PH’s promises of allocating a total 30 per cent of the development expenditures for Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.

Dr Sim, who is also the state minister of housing and local government, said the Budget also fails to mention the 20 per cent oil and gas royalty that the Pakatan had promised to give to Sarawak.

He said there is also no mention of the allocations for affordable housing projects for Sarawak.

“Again, the Pakatan federal government fails to provide the necessary allocations to make Sarawak a developed state,” he said.

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