Aspirasi launches election manifesto, promises RM500 monthly income for all adult Sarawakians

Aspirasi president Lina Soo (centre) with the party’s chairman Buln Ribos (left) and deputy president Lawrence Hugh Zehnder at the launch of Aspirasi’s election manifesto September 24, 2020. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Aspirasi president Lina Soo (centre) with the party’s chairman Buln Ribos (left) and deputy president Lawrence Hugh Zehnder at the launch of Aspirasi’s election manifesto September 24, 2020. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Sept 24 — Every adult Sarawakian will be guaranteed a basic monthly income of RM500 if the Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) and its partners in Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Gasak) can form the state government in the next election that must be called by next year.

Aspirasi president Lina Soo made the promise today while launching her party’s election manifesto, indicating that the money will come from the billions of ringgit in Sarawak’s oil-and-gas (O&G) revenue that currently go into federal coffers.

“What we propose is that Sarawak should impose 30 per cent state sales tax instead of the negligible 5 per cent,” she said at the launch Aspirasi’s eight-point election manifesto here.

She said the surplus funds from Sarawak’s O&G industry will be chanelled into a sovereign wealth fund for future generations who would no longer have oil as a resource.

Soo said Aspirasi will also go all out against corruption, which is rampant in the state, by setting up an independent commission that will track down and return to Sarawakians the wealth she claimed to have been “stolen” by the ruling politicians.

She also said Aspirasi is in favour of criminalising political crossovers because it enriches elected representatives.

“Political corruption of ‘frogging’ where elected lawmakers trade their political affiliation for personal profit to bring down a government must be punishable by law,” she said.

However, she said Aspirasi will not table an anti-hopping law to stop lawmakers from switching parties as it is against the Federal Constitution.

Soo said Aspirasi launched its manifesto today as part of its early preparation for the Sarawak election that must be called by September 2021.

“This manifesto is visionary and it sets the direction for the future of Sarawak,” she said.

She said Aspirasi will contest 22 seats in the coming state election while its partners in Gasak, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB), Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP) and two non-governmental organisations will contest in other seats which are yet to be finalised.

She said the candidates from the two NGOs will use Aspirasi’s butterfly symbol in the election.

The eight-point Aspirasi manifesto focuses on Sarawak’s independence through a democratic, universally recognised and peaceful process, with land for the landless and all native customary rights (NCR) land, which were leased out to the companies, to be returned to the owners and issued with freehold titles, and the rejection of all legislations which contravene the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Other points are for infrastructure and digital transformation, setting up of a homeland security ministry to face the threats from inside and outside the state, border security, immigration enforcement, and a declaration of Sarawak as having no official religion, which should not be part of the affairs of the government and public education.

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