Devt funding will be the deciding factor in PRN2021, says political analyst

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KUCHING, Nov 1: Political analyst Prof Dr James Chin believes that money will be the deciding factor in the coming state election due in 2021 (PRN2021).

He said as he had observed, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government may stand a chance to win the favour of voters if it continues to pour in huge development monies for the rural areas.

Dr James, who is also the director of University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute, said the huge spending by the state government would not impact the state coffers because it only spends its reserves.

On top of that, he added that Sarawak had always been a surplus state, ao recovering back the state’s reserves would not be a problem.

“The key thing about the next state election, it looks increasingly clear that the state government is going to ‘blow’ the reserves over the next two years to win the election.

“Of course money matters. In rural areas if you give development money of course it makes a difference. That goes without saying. But the problem in rural areas is a lot of the sentiments when it comes to voting, usually it’s last minute.

“They (state government) announced they are going to spend RM11 billion next year (for rural development), and the year following that, the balance from the total RM30 billion.

“Not ‘blow’, rather, invest in rural areas. So they are hoping to get a return on the investment through the next state election,” Dr Chin told reporters after attending the first half of the International Conference on Sarawak and Asean at a hotel here this morning.

Asked on how this would impact the state coffers, he said this would not have significant impact on the state’s revenue as Sarawak had always been a surplus state since the beginning, which he said many did not realise.

The only implication it would have on the state government, he said, would be the argument of what would happen to the reserves after the election.

“The only implication I can think of is you can always make the argument that if you ‘blow’ the reserve what happens after the election?

“So if you want to make major investments for the future, then you have no money. That is the only implication,” opined Dr Chin. — DayakDaily