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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 19: The fact that Sarawak is going from strength to strength has proven a former federal Finance Minister wrong when the latter said that “Sarawak will go bankrupt within three years”.
When debating the Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022 today, before ending his speech, Meradong assemblyman Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing (GPS-SUPP) revisited the statement made by Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Lim Guan Eng.
“I wish to point out that (there is) a former federal Finance Minister who claimed Sarawak is going to go bankrupt within three years a few years back and yet the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Sarawak Government is going from strength to strength.
“The Premier of Sarawak (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) has proved him wrong by tabling a Sarawak budget of over RM10 bilion for the past few years, with over 70 per cent being allocated as development funds.
“With innovative financial manoeuvres through various taxes, dividends and revenue reengineering as we clearly see in the two amendment bills (the Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022 and the Land Code (Amendment) Bill 2022) that were tabled in this sitting, we are sure to achieve the target of becoming a high income state in 2030,” said Ding.
During Sarawak DAP’s dinner themed “Sarawak here We Come” on June 21, 2019, Lim who was then Finance Minister predicted that Sarawak would go bankrupt in three year’s time if the GPS coalition continued to govern Sarawak.
He said the State’s coffers of RM30 billion will be exhausted in three years if GPS were to maintain Sarawak’s annual budget of RM11 billion each year.
Prior to bringing up Lim’s statement, Ding said Sarawak which had heavily relied on timber harvesting had since embarked on industrial forest planting.
He deemed the introduction of the Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022 as most timely because it will provide added incentive to speed up reforestation policies to facilitate carbon trading.
“Sarawak government has a clear and well-managed land use policy. Six million hectares were set aside for sustainable timber production and at the same time are geared towards creating a green and sustainable environment.
“Therefore we have the resources in abundance to make this bill a success,” he said.
The Sarawak government is proposing to license forest carbon activities over Sarawak land, permanent forests and alienated land through the tabling of the Forests (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The Bill was tabled by Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also the Second Minister for Urban Development and Natural Resources, at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today. — DayakDaily