Proposal for RM500 per Sarawakian from O&G tax lacks depth — Sedar

Datuk Othman Abdillah

KUCHING, Oct 20: Sedar views the call for a one-off payment of RM500 for every Sarawakians as not only not going far enough to benefit the people in the long-term, but as rather typical election gimmickry.

In contrast, Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) views the call for a one-off payment of RM500 for every Sarawakians as not only not going far enough to benefit the people in the long-term, but as rather typical election gimmickry.president Datuk Othman Abdillah emphasised that when the party was launched in July 2019, it has announced comprehensive policies that were focused on the rights of Sarawakian to have a direct share of Sarawak’s resources at the individual level besides having the rights as Sarawakians to enjoy equitable prosperity.

“Sedar has from the outset put forward policy actions in the form of Dividen Asasi Sarawak (Sarawak Basic Dividend) and Tabung Hak Ekuiti Rakyat Sarawak (Sarawak Peoples’ Equity Rights Fund).

“In Dividen Asasi Sarawak, the policy is to distribute to each Sarawakian of 18-years-old and above an amount of RM1,200 per year on a RM100 monthly disbursement. This will amount to approximately RM2.4 billion per year,” he explained in a statement today.

Othman emphasised that it is not a subsidy or a form of free handout but is the people’s rightful share from an estimated RM5 billion in total revenue attributed to the economic exploitation of Sarawak’s natural resources.

Tabung Hak Ekuiti Rakyat Sarawak, he continued, is a social wealth fund that is built up from a share of the revenue from the state’s income-generating investments, projects and land assets.

“The funds accumulated will be distributed equally to the people on an annual basis. All government investments and projects are from the people’s money; thus, the people have the right to receive an income from its investments through the government,” he added.

He was responding to Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP)’s recent proposal to the state government to use RM3.18 billion in revenue collected from the state sales tax (SST) for a one-off payment of RM500 to all Sarawakians.

On SUPP’s proposed sovereign wealth fund, Othman opined that it would not impart ownership of economic gains directly to the people while Sedar’s proposed Tabung Hak Ekuiti Rakyat Sarawak was meant to be owned by the people.

“The principal targets of Sedar’s policies are the establishment of fair opportunities for the people to claim ownership of the economy.

“The basic tenet of these two policy actions is the transfer of Sarawak’s wealth to the people’s wealth as a matter of inheritance rights,” he added.

Various other accompanying policy actions, he pointed out, were also in Sedar’s plans including to lower the cost of living, home ownership, drive a trickle-up economy and industrialise a technology-enabled bioeconomy to uplift the economic system particularly in the rural areas.

Meanwhile, SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian had during the closing of the party’s convention on Oct 18 urged the state government to approve the one-off payment channeling from the additional revenue of 2019 SST imposed on the state’s petroleum products.

Secondly, he also suggested the setting up of a special trust fund for human resource development and a Sarawakian sovereign fund to ensure that the future generations will continue to benefit from the oil and gas revenues even after the depletion of Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.