Baru: State Sovereign Fund would have been a boon to Sarawakians had it been set up when proposed by See

Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian (pic) said Sarawakians could have benefited from the State Sovereign Fund, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian (pic) said Sarawakians could have benefited from the State Sovereign Fund, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUCHING, Oct 24 — Sarawak would have benefited greatly from the State Sovereign Fund first mooted by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, said Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian.

Should See’s proposal had not fallen on deaf ears, Baru said Sarawakians could have benefited from it, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Imagine what the extra revenue from the state sovereign fund would have done to help alleviate the hardship of our ordinary folks,” he said in a statement today.

On Thursday, Baru, who is also Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member, criticised Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) over its recent resolution to set up the sovereign fund for the state as it had kept silent when it was first proposed by See in 2014.

He said it was was embarrassing to read that SUPP had resolved to urge the state government to set up the fund to ‘...ensure that future generations will continue to benefit from the oil and gas revenues even after the depletion of our oil and gas resources’.

SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting had responded by saying that the sovereign fund proposed by SUPP was different from See’s previous proposal, as it was based on revenue surplus instead of an anticipated 20 per cent increased payment in oil and gas royalty.

Ting retorted that Baru had ran out of political ideas to woo voters with this attempt to discredit SUPP’s convention resolution of setting up a Sarawak Sovereign Fund by claiming that it was triggered by ‘election fever’.

In his response, Baru reiterated that it was See who first raised and mooted the idea of setting up the state sovereign fund similar to the Norwegian model.

He added that it had greatly benefitted and propelled the Scandinavian country to one of the most developed countries in Europe, if not the world.

“Of course, we Sarawakians also harbour such dreams as the Norwegians and hope that the government of the day, or rather, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would take the cue and pick up the gauntlet to make Sarawak a rich and prosperous State ‘like no other’  —  equitably for all Sarawakians, that is,” he said.

As such, Baru said it was with this intention that he highlighted See’s suggestion to the state government on setting up the State Sovereign Fund.

“(This was done) to drive home the message of the lost opportunities which Sarawak and Sarawakians as a whole had missed due to GPS and ex-Barisan National (BN) nonchalant attitude towards the future generations of Sarawak and Sarawakians towards his noble intention,” he said. — Borneo Post Online

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