By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Dec 14: The Sarawak government will re-evaluate the assessment rate for all government buildings which is expected to rake in RM20 million of revenue for local councils.
The new policy was disclosed by Minister of Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian when giving a talk on ‘Empowering Sarawakians via the State Government Initiatives’ at ‘An Evening with Fellow Sarawakians: Talking about What Really Matters’ event held Friday night (Dec 13).
“The cabinet has approved and starting next year, the assessment rate for all government buildings in Sarawak will be increased.
“We won’t touch on private property because it is benefiting the rakyat. For government property, we have not increased our assessment rate since 1970s. By doing that, every year, we will increase revenue of about RM20 million for local councils,” he said.
Dr Sim pointed out that this was one of the approaches taken in efforts to generate more income for Sarawak so that the state can be financially strong.
Using the analogy of a father and son to show the importance of a country developing self-reliance and resilience, he shared: “If every time the son asked for money from the father, but what the son gets is ‘no money’ and a bad scolding, the son will eventually give up and start to learn to rely on himself to seek a way out.”
Dr Sim, who is also Batu Kawa assemblyman, thus emphasised that circumstances have forced Sarawak to start thinking and to use its talents to make sure that Sarawak is financially strong.
The next few years ahead, he pointed out will be the crucial years to see whether Sarawak will make it and become an adult who is financially strong or fail and continue to be dependent on federal government.
He thus called on Sarawakians to remain united and continue to move in one direction so to support and help Sarawak becomes financially strong and independent.
“At this time, we want Sarawak to be financially strong. That is why in our budget, two years ago, it was just RM7 million but now, it has increased to RM10 billion.
“Sarawak government has been thinking hard of new ways to generate more income and whatever new income that it generated, it will share with the people,” he said.
Among the revenue generation initiatives which have been implemented include the new water tax that is expected to generate RM600 million from Sarawak Energy; aluminium tax and the State Sales Tax on petroleum products, among others.
“I believe in the next five to 10 years, Sarawak government will have a lot of investments including overseas, and generating a lot of dividend,” he added, highlighting a revenue stream from the MLNG3 (Malaysia Liquefied Natural Gas Tiga) which the state government had invested RM700 million to acquire 25 per cent of its share.
Shell, Dr Sim explained, was keen to dispose of its shares at a reasonable price because its terms of concession was about to expire and Sarawak took the opportunity by quickly acquiring the shares last year.
“Do you know how much dividend for Sarawak government a year for the shares we have in MLNG3? RM2 billion,” he stressed.— DayakDaily