By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 16: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong is of the view that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders are blaming others now to try to cover up 50 years of failure in not championing the review of the special grants for Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
“I am disappointed and puzzled at the same time why the GPS leaders are not showing appreciation for the increment in special grants allocation but criticised the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for the insufficient amount,” she told a press conference at Democratic Action Party (DAP) headquarters here today.
“They shout loudly about fighting for Sarawakians but why did they not fight for the special grants in the past 50 years?” she questioned.
Yong reiterated that the special grants for Sabah and Sarawak have not been reviewed and maintained at RM16 million for Sarawak and RM26.7 million for Sabah since 1969 under the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
“They have failed to carry out their duty in increasing the allocations for Sabah and Sarawak. If the reviews had been done, I believe the amount for Sarawak will be much more,” she said.
She added that in Budget 2020, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng announced that the special grants would be doubled to RM53.5 million for Sabah and RM32 million for Sarawak next year, and over the next five years, it would be further increased to RM106.8 million for Sabah and RM64 million for Sarawak.
“The grant will be channelled down to the state government so GPS can spend for the people,” she stressed.
“The PH government has shown sincerity by doubling the grants even though negotiations are still ongoing in the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) Steering Committee meeting. This shows that the government recognises the states of Sabah and Sarawak and their rights as provided in the constitution,” she said.
Yong thus urged GPS leaders to stop the ‘unnecessary’ attacks on the PH federal government as the special grants have been doubled for Sabah and Sarawak next year.
“Don’t oppose for the sake of opposing. The GPS government should work together with the PH government to get back what belongs to Sarawak,” she added.
Meanwhile, she called on the public especially Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients, who are 50-years-old and above, to drop by the booths for Peka B40, a healthcare protection scheme for the lower income group, at the ‘Buy Malaysian Products’ Campaign Carnival held in MJC Batu Kawah this coming weekend (Oct 19 and 20).
All are welcome to visit the Peka B40 booths no. 75-78 on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm to get free health screening including urine and blood tests to check cholestrol, glucose and kidney functions.
“Female BSH recipients are also entitled for breast screening while male for prostate. Doctors, nurses and medical personnel will be there,” Yong said.
“Next year onwards, the eligibility age for the scheme will be lowered to 40-years-old. This means more people will benefit. But for this campaign carnival, only those 50-years-old and above can participate (in the scheme),” she pointed out. — DayakDaily