Is Sarawak receiving its fair share of national funding to fight Covid-19, asks PBK sec-gen

Priscilla Lau

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KUCHING, April 29: Sarawak appears to have been left holding the short end of the stick, as reflected when broken ventilators were sent to Sibu General Hospital as well as by the talk of sending the controversial AstraZeneca vaccine to Sarawak, opines Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) secretary-general Priscilla Lau.

Lau in a press statement today, said being the consistent top contributor towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Malaysia, Sarawak should have a say about the federal allocations of funds especially in these trying times.

“The federal government must be accountable to Sarawak and state clearly which part of this additional RM5 billion allocation fund belongs to Sarawak as we are truly in need of the very basics of healthcare such as beds and infusion pumps, needless to say the (Covid-19) vaccine,” she said.

At the same time, Lau noted, after only two days of vaccinations in Sibu, the vaccine supply was stopped.

She said there was also a call for donations last week as Sibu General Hospital is short of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and infusion pumps.

“How many per cent of Sarawakians have been vaccinated as compared to the rest of Malaysia? Where’s the allocation for these essential items? Are gifts more essential than these? Or is it because Sibu is not even on the list to receive any allocations?” asked Lau.

Meanwhile, Lau also called on the federal government to list the details on “gifts” expenditure listed in the additional RM5 billion allocation fund for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Lau cited a The Edge Malaysia report on April 27, which published a table breaking down the additional funds of RM5 billion listed with “Gifts for non-health volunteers RM200 mil”, “Health Volunteers’ gifts RM147 mil”, and “Unexpected contingencies RM110 mil”.

“To simply state items as “gifts” and “contingencies” leaves the reader with many unanswered questions as to the authenticity of such allocations.

“In these truly hard trying times for the citizens, and Malaysia being on the brink of “bankruptcy” with debts piling high, can the government justify such an allocation totaling RM457 mil for something termed widely as “gifts and contingencies?” she questioned. — DayakDaily