By Lianne Cheng
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19: Every newborn Sarawakian will soon be given financial assistance by the state government, but the aid can only be withdrawn when the child has come of age and use it for education.
It will benefit all newborn Sarawakians, irrespective of race, announced Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.
“I am going to grant assistance to every newborn. Once they are born, they will instantly receive financial aid,” he said during the `TanyakAbgJo’ session at the annual Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2018.
He told the 7,000-strong gathering of Sarawakians at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre that the financial aid would be banked into an account, but the parents of the child would not be able to lay their hands on it.
“The compounded interest will later be used by the child for education when he/she reaches the age of 18.”
Currently, there are about 40,000 newborns in Sarawak every year.
Abang Johari said he had discussed the plan in the State Cabinet, but the quantum of the financial aid had not been decided yet. Generally, the idea is to help all Sarawakians have access to good education.
On the provision of affordable housing, he said he was in the midst of formulating a `Rumah Pertiwi Ku’ policy.
Abang Johari told those present that following the federal government’s refusal to fund many infrastructure projects, such as the building of bridges and provision of treated water, he had to think of ways to develop the state on its own.
He also had to search for funds for these projects within the state’s constitutional rights. One of the ways, he said, was to reclaim Sarawak’s lost rights in oil and gas.
Abang Johari said there were other ways to raise funds, but he would only disclose them when tabling the Sarawak Budget 2019 next month.
“It will be a record budget for Sarawak because I have my own way. It will be based on our own model,” he said. — DayakDaily