Sarawak’s former second finance minister criticised for not attending State Assembly sitting

Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said he had suggested the State Assembly sit for at least three days to properly debate the issue.. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said he had suggested the State Assembly sit for at least three days to properly debate the issue.. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 11 — Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) Batu Kitang State Assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang today hit out at former state Second Finance Minister Datuk Sri Wong Soon Koh for not attending the State Assembly sitting today.

He said Wong, being a former senior state minister, should be the last person to stay away from the sitting.

“He and his three colleagues from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) should be in the State Assembly to lend support to the state government,” Lo told a press conference after the State Assembly adjourned its sitting.

“It is unfortunate that he is not here,” he said.

Muara Tuang State Assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang, who was also at the press conference, criticised Wong for questioning the ability of the state government to fund the three stimulus packages introduced to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 infection. 

He said Wong should not criticise the state financial system of which he was part when he was the second minister of finance before resigning from the post last year.

“He is just too judgmental of the state government, which should not be the case,” he said.

He agreed that Wong should attend the sitting to support the tabling of the two supplementary bills by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

“This sitting today is for the people. He should be here to support. At least the Opposition members voiced their support to the two bills,” Idris said.

Wong, who is PSB president, had said yesterday that he and three of the party’s state lawmakers would not be attending the sitting since there would be no debate.

He said he was aware that there are two supplementary Bills to be tabled as stated under Standing Order 67(4) and (8) of the State Assembly. 

“This means that this sitting will not give members of the State Assembly any opportunity to debate and raise relevant issues, in particular, the questions relating to the huge deficit in the 2019 and 2020 budgets as a result of the shortfall in oil and gas sales tax payable by Petronas,” Wong said.

Wong, who resigned last year as state second minister of finance — a post he had held for 15 years — said he had suggested the State Assembly sit for at least three days to properly debate the issue. 

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