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KUCHING, Nov 4: Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen admits that there was a shortcoming in the Budget 2019 concerning Sarawak.
He acknowledged that he recently promised that 30 per cent of the budget allocation would be for Sarawak and Sabah, but the announcement by Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng a couple of days ago fell short of the promised percentage.
“In our manifesto, it said East Malaysia will get 30 per cent of development funds. I think this is a matter where we call a spade a spade, with Sabah and Sarawak that was promised to get 30 per cent of development budget. If you look at the figure, we got less than 20 per cent of the total development budget.
“So that is a shortcoming in the budgetary allocation that Pakatan Harapan (PH) has fallen short of what was promised,” Chong admitted.
However, he argued that the reason why the promise was not kept was because of the state of the country’s finances that the PH government inherited from the previous government.
“Given what (Minister of Transport) Anthony Loke said just now, (there are) a lot of things we want to do but because of the financial constraints, so sometimes we can’t fulfill,” said Chong.
He however assured that state PH will strive towards the promise according to its manifesto.
Loke meanwhile said that RM34 billion has been allocated for the refunds of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and income tax returns throughout 2019.
He believed that many Sarawakians will benefit from the tax returns, and assured that it would be done as promised in 2019.
“We want to pay back everything, where the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) failed to pay back since two or three years ago,” said Loke. — DayakDaily