Sarawak still has to ‘compete’ with other states for a fair share in budget allocation

Cobbold John Lusoi

KUCHING, Nov 2: Pakatan Harapan’s first national budget tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is a disappointment and no different than that tabled by the Barisan Nasional in the previous year.

There was no increase made in the allocation to help Sarawak to catch up on its overall development with Peninsular Malaysia, observed Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Baru president Cobbold John Lusoi.

For rural development, Cobbold said the Pakatan government should allocate a minimum of RM10 billion for each Sabah and Sarawak for basic infrastructure projects alone, but instead, both states received RM5 billion and RM4.3 billion respectively.

He expressed disappointment that there was not even a specific budget allocation for development of Dayak communities in Sarawak.

“This budget is like that of the BN government 2018 Budget, where Sarawak still has to ‘compete’ for the goodies with the other 12 states.

“That is why Sarawak must be recognised as one of the founders in the formation of Malaysia. The rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) must be restored to its original state, in order for the state to obtain equal allocations for developments,” he said in a statement.

Cobbold said significant fund allocation must be allocated to aid Dayak participation in rural transformation and pursuit of tertiary education including technical skills.

Most importantly, education was the best investment towards developing human capital, he added.

Citing Kalimantan, Indonesia, he suggested that the state can set up Dayak pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, as well as technical institutes and universities to aid education development for the native Sarawak committee.

“Pakatan government should allocate grants for Dayak-based NGOs or civil associations in Sarawak to empower community programmes.

“This in addition to supporting development of Dayak entrepreneurs and SMEs,” he continued.

Cobbold also raised native customary rights (NCR) land matters, which is still a major issue in Sarawak.

“What Dayaks expected this time round, under the newly formed Pakatan government was a ‘fair share’ of the budget, one that would provide equal development to Sarawakians in general and help the state catch up with infrastructure development on par with Peninsular Malaysia.” — DayakDaily