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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 25: The imposition of the five per cent Sarawak Sales Tax (SST) on Petronas has not caused prices of petrol in Sarawak to increase, contrary to the prediction of an Opposition member in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN).
The past event was brought up by Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian while delivery his winding up speech at the DUN sitting here today.
The passing of the various new Bills last week are efforts under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leadership of Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg to strengthen Sarawak’s autonomy and financial independence, as well as to get a head start on the new economy.
These included the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022 and Forest (Amendment) Ordinance 2022, as well as the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill 2018 and Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2022 .
The efforts, he said, also paved the way for a confident Sarawak to march on despite the instability in West Malaysia, hostilities in various parts of the world amid the threat of global recession and the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted socio-economic disruption and hardship.
Dr Sim who is also Batu Kawa assemblyman (GPS-SUPP) lamented that instead of supporting these Bills, some members from the Opposition bench remained skeptical at best but continue to insinuate and mislead the people at worst.
“In the name of championing the people’s welfare, one of the YB in this august House even claimed the prices of our petrol in Sarawak compared to the rest of the country will go up with the passing of five per cent Sarawak Sales Tax.
“The reality is, the price of petrol in Sarawak did not go up but instead (the imposition of SST) brings more than $3 billion of revenue to Sarawak a year,” said Dr Sim.
He added that he was saddened by Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (PH-DAP) for continuing to defend the latter’s ‘Malaya boss’ by twisting facts on the “Sarawak to go bankrupt in three years” subject.
“Sarawak is not only not bankrupt after three years, but we are even stronger financially. Wondering when are they going to launch ‘Save Malaysia 2.0’? DAP Sarawak should apologise to not just to the people but also to this Dewan,” said Dr Sim who is also Deputy Premier of Sarawak.
Meanwhile, on his ministry, he reported that under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the Sarawak government has allocated RM398 million to Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to implement affordable housing and three non-physical projects.
A total of 1,568 units of affordable housing and Rumah SPEKTRA Permata (RSP) are in the various stages of implementation in Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Kapit, Mukah, Miri and Limbang.
He said HDC is also tasked to upgrade the infrastructure and amenities of three traditional villages in Kuching under the Urban Renewal Programme.
The three non-physical projects, he explained, are financial grants to Mutiara Mortgage and Credit Sdn Bhd (Mutiara), strata title management for HDC’s flat and a housing needs and demand study.
Currently, he said there is only one ongoing Federal-funded affordable housing project in Sarawak under the Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) since 2018, that is PPR Seduan in Sibu which involves the construction of the 461 single-storey terrace houses, scheduled to be completed by April 2023. — DayakDaily