KUCHING, Nov 8: The RM150 million allocated for the purchase of laptops for 150,000 students in 500 schools nationwide in Budget 2021 is inadequate.
This is the view of Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan as she said studies have shown that 80 per cent of students in Malaysia do not have access to computers.
As the list of schools to benefit from this budget allocation has yet to be revealed, she wished that Sarawak students would be in the recipient list.
Adding on, she urged the Members of Parliament (MPs) to fight for the special grant of RM1,000 for traders, taxi drivers, e-hailing drivers and tour guides in Sarawak as well.
Seeing that the special grant had been allocated only for Sabah, she hoped to see the same thing for Sarawakians.
In addition, she believed that the allocation of RM700 million worth of grants to finance digital transformation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is too insufficient.
“When the federal government announced RM700 million worth of grants and loans to finance digital transformation of SMEs in June 2020, I had expressed my concern that the amount was inadequate.
“So, to see RM150 million in grants for the digitalisation and automation of SMEs in Budget 2021 is quite disappointing. Automation not only increases productivity but greatly reduces our dependency on foreign workers,” she explained in a press statement today.
Kho also expressed her hopes that MPs would fight for Sarawak to get a big allocation of the RM2 billion Green Technology Financing Scheme 3.0 because Sarawak is the only state embarking on hydrogen economy.
Other than that, she was happy to see the RM14 million allocation to infrastructure upgrades and digitalisation of government services, the investment of RM1 billion for industrial digital transformation scheme, and the RM7.3 billion to increase broadband services in 2021 and 2022.
She was also glad that there was a one per cent decrease in income tax rate for those earning between RM50,000 to RM70,000 per year, RM100 million allocated for research into diseases including vaccine development, and RM30 million allocation for kindergartens establishments. — DayakDaily