KUCHING, July 31 — The Sarawak government must immediately convene the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting to present a supplementary budget to help the people and the business sector, said DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
In a statement today, he said the government must also plan for a huge deficit budget for year 2022 in order to stimulate the state’s economy.
“The Year 2021 State’s surplus budget is a mistake right from the start. Businesses in Sarawak would not have to suffer as they are currently suffering now had the state government taken my advice in Sarawak DUN last year to introduce a deficit budget instead of the surplus budget for 2021,” he said.
Chong said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg and his team of advisors must take heed of the fact that in times of recession and economic difficulties, it was the duty of the government to introduce a deficit budget and to spend so that the private sector can survive, even if it means that the government has to take up loans for that purpose.
“Now that state election is postponed to next year, I call on Abang Jo to immediately convene the Sarawak DUN sitting to introduce and pass a large supplementary budget to help the people and business sector in the state,” he said.
Chong said that DAP Sarawak welcomes and supports the imposition of the localised Emergency Order for Sarawak so that the state elections will not be held during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He noted that it also gave the government the time to focus on policies and measures to tackle the pandemic and help the people.
He said it was incumbent upon the government to fully utilise the next six months to complete the vaccination exercise for the whole of Sarawak, including those below 18 years of age and foreign workers; improve the healthcare services and the facilities to cater for the outbreak and the need for extensive medical care of the Covid-19 patients; revive the economy and the business sectors; and restore the livelihood and standard of living of the people to the pre-pandemic time.
“The GPS government has done a fairly good job on the first item, but very lacking and way below par on the other items.
“There is no substantial and sufficient increase in the healthcare facilities to cater to ever-increasing demand for such services caused by the outbreak. There is also practically no help at all by the state government for the private business sector and the livelihood and standard of living of the people have deteriorated despite the huge reserve fund of the state government,” he added. — Borneo Post