‘Get your facts right’, Chong tells SUPP on Unimas budget

Chong (centre) showing the Budget 2020 book as Yong looks on.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Oct 18: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen regretted the selective reading by SUPP on the 2020 budget allocation for Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

“SUPP alleged that the allocation for Unimas has been slashed from RM42 million in 2019 to RM17 million for next year and we regret the selective reading of the 2020 budget by SUPP leaders in respect to the allocation of Unimas.

“Either they are not aware of how to read the budget document or that they purposely twist the fact,” the Stampin MP told a press conference here today.

Chong explained that in all the budget allocation, there is operating expenditure and development expenditure to different parts of the budget document.

He pointed that under the operating expenditure for the year 2019, Unimas was allocated RM211 million and for 2020, the allocation was increased to RM216 million.

Chong said the amount allocated for development expenditure was based on project documents proposed by all the relevant institutions in the country before the preparation of the budget.

He added that based on the project document submitted by Unimas, their development expenditure for 2019 was RM42 million, while for 2020 the figure is RM17 million.

“Therefore, the Ministry of Finance allocation was based on submission for development expenditure by Unimas,” he explained.

Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, said he was surprised that SUPP leaders have omitted the operating expenditure but only focus on the development expenditure of Unimas.

“I do not know whether this is done purposely or intentionally to give the impression that there has been a substantial cut in the allocation for Unimas. If the institution did not submit the amount for their project, there is no basis for the finance ministry to allocate it,” he continued.

Chong said under the development of expenditure allocation, some universities had an increase or decreased in the amount given under Budget 2020.

For instant, Universiti Utara Malaysia showed that in 2019 the allocation given was RM34.5 million and 2020 it is RM25 million. For Universiti Malaysia Sabah, there was an increment from RM28 million in 2019 to RM43 million in 2020.

For Universiti Pendidkan Sultan Idris (UPSI), in 2019 it was allocated RM58.7 million and in 2020, it is RM17 million, he explained.

“If you look the operating expenditures, obviously Unimas has an increase allocation. So I call upon SUPP not to pick up or selectively read the document and try to give an impression that Unimas has been unfairly discriminated against.

“There is no such intention, there is no such thing that happens. For the development, expenditure is based on the project intended or proposed project to be carried out next year. Whereas for the operating expenditure is consistently increased.

“Therefore, it clear that there is no discrimination on this 2020 budget allocation to Unimas development expenditure,” he said.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong was present. — DayakDaily