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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 13: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is perplexed with by the conflicting statements from Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen.
Referring to Chong’s demand for the Sarawak government to allocate RM1 billion in the 2021 Budget to help the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), he however noted that Chong also criticised and alleged the government has been spending extravagantly.
“I am inclined to believe that the Honourable Member for Kota Sentosa is confused on what he actually wants.
“He is blowing hot and cold about his request. Does he want the Sarawak Government to increase spending or reduce spending?,” he asked when delivering his winding-up speech in the august House today.
The Chief Minister said that this was a clear indication that Chong’s intention was merely to criticise the Sarawak government.
Meanwhile, Chong pointed out, in debating the Supply (2021) Bill 2020 yesterday, that there was too little and almost negligible effort in the State Budget 2021 to help the SMEs survive the economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
From an estimate expenditure of close to RM10 billion a year of the state government, he noted that only RM54 million this year and RM69 million next year were allocated to help the SMEs.
“That is less than 0.01 per cent. It is pittance, considering that SMEs form the backbones of the state’s economy.
“We need to save the SMEs in the state in order to save jobs. The RM1 billion allocation will thus be of great help to our SMEs and their employees,” he stressed. — DayakDaily