KUCHING, Feb 26 — Sarawak could have been given a much bigger allocation under the Budget 2023 to catch up with the infrastructure development in Peninsular Malaysia, said Datuk Richard Wee.

The Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president said the state is in a dire need of a bigger allocation for rural development and the development of other fundamental utilities.

He noted that Sabah and Sarawak had been allocated much for the upgrading of dilapidated schools, but he felt that this alone would not suffice.

“At a glance, it seems that Budget 2023 is quite comprehensive and has covered most areas and sectors especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with financial scheme and reduced taxation to provide the necessary assistance for their recovery.

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“Financial aids are also given to the lower income group in giving RM500 to the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) contributors who have lower than RM10,000 in their EPF account and other financial aid to the lower income and needy group.

“As for Sarawak, it could have a bigger allocation for the rural development and other fundamental utilities and not for just the dilapidated schools,” he told The Borneo Post today when asked to comment on the Budget 2023 tabled in Parliament on Friday.

According to Wee, the areas that the Budget seems to have missed out on are the emphasis on green, sustainability incentives for electronic vehicle (EV) and other renewable incentives.

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He pointed out that another concern is the intention of reintroducing of Capital Gains Tax which can be a disincentive to the business community.

“But overall, it is a more inclusive and comprehensive budget for the rakyat,” he said.

When asked how much bigger allocation Sarawak needs, Wee said this would always be a very subjective issue.

He opined that one might never be satisfied with the quantum no matter how much the allocation was as there could be reasons like Sarawak is so backward in terms of development compared to Peninsular Malaysia.

As such, he reiterated that Sarawak needs much more allocation in order to catch up with the development in Peninsular Malaysia.

“But the basic fundamental concept is that all the rural basic utilities towards the livelihood of the rakyat must be there, such as clean water, stable supply of electricity, reliable telecommunications on phone line and Internet connection are all essential part of our new era.

“So allocation for such infrastructural facilities must be taken into consideration,” he said.

Wee observed that it may not be possible for Sarawak to get these in one budget allocation but the federal government must have the political will to plan and come up with such funds over a period of time.

“Such allocations should be mandatory and not at the discretion of the ministers and politicians when they consider their political agenda.

“These are development of the nation and the governing principles of the country, and the responsibility of the government of the day,” he added. — Borneo Post