Minos: Budget focus on agriculture, tourism will boost rural socioeconomy

Datuk Peter Minos

KUCHING, Nov 5: Sarawak government’s continued focus on agriculture and tourism under the state 2020 budget will help uplift the socioeconomic status of the rural populace, said political observer Datuk Peter Minos.

Agriculture and tourism are two key industries that the state must focus and work on, he added.

“We must always think of ways to utilise our ample land for agriculture, not just for improving the income of our rural people but also for export to increase Sarawak’s revenue,” he said in a statement

Under the 2020 budget tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting here yesterday, some RM1.058 billion was allocated for the agriculture sector, RM400 million for digital economy development and RM318 million for the tourism sector.

Peter also described the tourism sector as a rising industry in Sarawak. The state has made the right decision to further develop its tourism, he said.

“Tourism brings jobs, income and wealth to Sarawak, as we see elsewhere like in Singapore and Bali. It is truly a big and lucrative cash-cow industry. You will never go wrong in using our natural wealth such as culture, tradition and many other things for maximum benefits from tourism,” he continued.

He believed that given more direct access (flight connectivity) to big cities such as Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai, Beijing, Perth, Melbourne, Bangkok and even Ho Chi Minh City, tourism will be a big hit to Sarawak.

On digital economy development, the Kota Samarahan Municipal Council chairman said Sarawak must emulate the success of companies such as Alibaba and Amazon.

“I see that Sarawak will go full steam with the new world of digital economy. Yes, it is the ‘in’ thing now. As in the case of Alibaba and Amazon.”

Peter cited China’s focus on technology development and digital economy, which has expended rapidly in recent years. Sarawak must emulate their success stories, he added.

Commenting on the state government’s intention to bring Petronas to court over its failure to pay the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum product, he believed that state has no option but to take legal action.

“If by Dec 31, Petronas has not paid up the 5 per cent sales tax to Sarawak, the state has no choice but sue since both Shell and Murphy Oil have paid their dues.

“Let the courts decide. Petronas cannot play around and play the fool with Sarawak. It is a tax on our own oil and gas,” he said. — DayakDaily