By Peter Sibon and Nigel Bolly
KUCHING, Jan 19: Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has told the state government to increase its five per cent sales tax on petroleum products to 10 per cent next year, should Putrajaya refuse to grant more development fund for Sarawak.
The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president said there was nothing wrong for the state government to do so, for the sake of developing Sarawak at a faster rate.
Tiong put forth such suggestion at the Launch of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) at Stadium Perpaduan here tonight.
PDP is one of the four component parties of GPS including Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
Tiong expressed hope that GPS will be more vocal in raising concerns to ensure all communities in Sarawak have access to infrastructure and other basic facilities.
He said there must also be more opportunities for enhancement of skills, as well as improvement in human capital development, to uplift the income of Sarawakians.
“I would also like to propose to the chief minister that GPS take a firmer stand to request more funds from the federal government to upgrade infrastructures in the rural area, now the grassroots are asking what our ministers are doing since we have such a daring and aggressive chief minister.
“Because of that, our ministers must also be as aggressive as the chief minister in going to the ground to hear the voice of the people and not becoming ‘kongkalikong’ (empty can makes the most noise),” said Tiong.
Tiong pointed out that Sarawak, which has the land size that takes up 38 per cent of total land area of Malaysia, is blessed with many natural resources. However, in terms of development, Sarawak is still far behind, he lamented.
“A lot must be done to solve the problem of the people especially those in the rural area. By hook or by crook, we have to ensure GPS will find the best ways and means to uplift the people’s life especially those in rural area and make Sarawak a better state,” he continued.
He praised Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for the courage to take on the building of three bridges – Batang Rambungan Bridge, Batang Igan Bridge and Batang Lupar Bridge – after the federal government withdrew the budget for their construction.
“The same applied to electricity and quality water supply projects for rural folk where all the allocations are from Sarawak Government itself. These projects have been continued despite no funding from the federal government.” — DayakDaily