KUCHING, Aug 4: Now that the state government has paid back RM350 million out of its debts to Putrajaya, Putrajaya must keep its promise to fix the state’s dilapidated schools as soon as possible.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said when the state government had offered Putrajaya a RM1 billion loan to fix the state’s dilapidated schools earlier this year with the condition it must be used to contra the state’s loan, the Ministry of Finance imposed numerous conditions which made the deal difficult.
Finally, now that the issue had been settled with the state paying RM350 million out of its state debt to Putrajaya, he said the ball is now in Putrajaya’s court to honour its end of the deal, otherwise it would be met with the wrath of Sarawakians.
“I gave them, they said they do, they must do. If not they will be branded liars by Sarawakians,” said Abang Johari when delivering his address during the launching ceremony of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Zone 2 (Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kitang dan Batu Kawah) at Kampung Semeba here this morning.
Recently, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the federal government would speed up the process of procurement and expenditure of up to RM350 million for the first phase of a project to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak as soon as the state government made a RM350 million debt repayment.
According to Lim, the Sarawak government still owed the federal government RM2.352 billion as of June 30 this year.
Abang Johari explained that the state debt, loaned from the federal government, is in accordance with the Federal Constitution because the state is paying taxes to the federal government, the loan is as per agreement and the state has never lagged in payment.
Nonetheless, he said whatever it is, the state has paid the loan, and the federal government must now fulfill its promise to fix the state’s dilapidated schools with no delay for the benefit of the students of Sarawak.
On another note, Abang Johari revealed that he would be announcing an initiative to help new mothers to cope with the rising cost of living by the end of the year.
He said he will be making the announcement during the Budget 2020 announcement at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting scheduled for November.
“For the mothers, you wait for the end of this year, there is something I will announce during the budget. This will help ease the burden of new mothers especially to help them cope with the rising cost of living, as nowadays the cost of living is quite high,” he said.
Abang Johari said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government till now had failed to address the issue of rising cost of living, which has been a burden to many low income Sarawakians, especially new mothers who had just given birth.
He said prior to the last general elections (GE14) PH had promised that after they had taken over Putrajaya, they would reduce the cost of living, but the promise has not been achieved till now.
“They also promised after they took over, the government of Sarawak will get 20 per cent oil royalty, but till now (there are) no signs of it. They made a lot of promises. But let me stress that GPS does not just make promises, we do what the rakyat wants,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily