By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Feb 2: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth is urging the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, especially their elected representatives in Sarawak, to ease the rising cost of living in the state.
SUPP Youth chief Michael Tiang said instead of worrying about PH seat allocation formula for the coming state election, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen should be busy finding solutions to the matters troubling Sarawakians.
Among the issues at hand is the rising cost of living, which Tiang said was actually contrary to Chong’s recent statement, where he said the prices of 70 per cent of essential items had gone down.
“I want Chong to go down to the streets and talk to the people and ask whether they are they happy. Are they having the happiest Chinese New Year or a worrisome one? It’s very real. Ask the people whether they are happy with the prices of good now or not,” he challenged Chong.
Chong told a local daily yesterday that the state PH would likely stick to the formula agreed upon during the 2016 state election, as far as seat arrangements are concerned.
He said the component parties under the ruling federal coalition would contest in all 82 constituencies during the next state polls, which is due in 2021.
“I see no reason why we should not be contesting in all the 82 seats. Basically, we will stick to the previous formula or arrangement, save for the six overlapping seats,” he was quoted as saying.
The overlapping seats are Batu Kitang, Mambong, Simanggang, Ngemah, Murum and Mulu.
Tiang said it was just futile for PH to talk about seat allocations at this moment when they should be talking about solutions to help Sarawakians handle the rising cost of living.
“A lot of businessmen came to tell me that by today, some of their capital for the New Year goods have not been recouped. That means, they are on the losing side and not made any profit. So, these are real things and the people’s issues,” he reckoned.
He said PH lawmakers in the state must speak up at the federal cabinet to help the state, just like what the state government is doing.
He cited the example of the state government subsidising the airfares of Sarawakian students who wanted to return home for holidays.
“Why the airfare subsidy by the state government? It’s because the PH government failed to come up with solutions to cap the airfare to help Sarawakian students.
“Now we are facing price hikes, especially now, during the Chinese New Year, everyone is shopping, so the frustration and burden are there. The reality is there, unlike what Chong said 70 per cent of items prices have gone down [sic],” said Tiang.
Tiang also urged Works Minister Baru Bian to speak up for Sarawak in the federal cabinet. — DayakDaily