Sarawak has yet to touch its reserve funds, says Abang Jo

Abang Johari showing his speech on the second stimulus package worth RM1.1 billion at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today. Seen from the left are Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Apr 10: The Sarawak Government is not touching its reserves yet as it has RM1 billion in contingency funds approved by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) in the 2020 budget.

“If they (Federal Government) extend the Movement Control Order (MCO); if we need some money, of course, we will use our reserves. At the moment we have enough. So, we don’t touch our reserve yet. We see how it goes. Why not, as long as the business and the economy are running smoothly,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at a news conference after the State Cabinet meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.

He reiterated that the Sarawak government had set aside the contingency fund for unforeseen circumstances including the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You must remember that we budgeted for the unforeseen expenditure for this Covid-19 by giving the assistance to the front liners including medical equipment and so on,” he said.

Abang Johari who is also the Minister of Finance said that Sarawak had anticipated the current economic hardship due to the unforeseen circumstances.

“We anticipate this. That’s why the first stimulus package covers six months. And this is an added one to assist the SMEs (small and medium entrepreneurs) including petty traders, as long as they are registered with the local authorities. That’s why we give each of them RM1,500,” he said.

The Chief Minister also assured the people that the Sarawak government will continue to monitor the economy and the needs of Sarawakians in the continuous fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So, if there is a possibility of an extended MCO, then of course there will be some implication again. And then we will review again based on our affordability,” he added.

Sarawak has been reported to have at least RM30 billion in its reserves. —DayakDaily