By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 5: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan has shot down speculations that the massive Sarawak Budget 2019 meant a snap state election would be called.
He insisted it was only a ‘smart’ budget of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to develop the rural areas.
“That (snap election) is not taken into consideration, but we need to leapfrog our pace of development in the state. We are lagging behind. You look at the Federal Budget 2019. How much is given to Sarawak?. So, this state budget is a matter of needs and what the people require.
“The CM is very smart to get the revenue for the budget. So, because of our innovative ways, credit has to go to CM,” Awang Tengah told newsmen when commenting on the State Budget 2019 tabled by the chief minister at the State Legislative Assembly here today.
Awang Tengah reiterated that the imposition of the five per cent sales tax on petrochemical products was based on its rights and within the ambits of the State Constitution.
“It is a very creative budget and rural development biased. With the increased budget, the state is able to pursue the developments and implementations of projects required by the people as well as to expand economic activities in the state, including undertaking some of the projects that are supposed to be the responsibility of federal government, such as repairs and building of the dilapidated schools
“The sale taxes on such products does not burden the ordinary people, and the budget spills out a new financial model to source for competitive alternative funding.” Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development and Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, asserted that the innovative budget meant the state did not have to dig into its reserves.
“This budget does not touch our reserves as it draws new sources of revenue in very innovative and creative ways.” He said the RM4.3 billion allocation from the federal government under Budget 2019 would not be enough to implement its development projects.
“The federal budget does not give high hopes for Sarawak. Therefore, we cannot totally rely on the federal government. In this respect, Sarawakians must appreciate the efforts made by our CM.” — DayakDaily