Sarawak urgently needs to set up sovereign wealth fund, says S4S

Tan Kok Chiang

KUCHING, August 28: Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) is urging the Sarawak government to set up a Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Fund in view of the implementation of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) which will take effect on Sept 1 this Saturday.

S4S Kuching spokesperson Tan Kok Chiang said there is urgency to set up the fund as many Sarawakians may face financial difficulties after the implementation of SST.

“Some Sarawakians will face extra financial stress comes September 1. The Sarawak government needs to use the Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Fund to give aid to Sarawakians in need.

“Compared to Malaya, Sarawakians in general are paid lower salaries. The price increase will have a noticeable impact.

“And with reduced purchasing power from the consumers, business would also be bleak for some traders,” said Tan, who predicted that SST would cause a vicious economic circle.

He said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent announcement that the Pakatan Harapan government would reduce BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) would prove to be a double whammy for the low income group in Sarawak.

“In face of the federal government’s rejection towards helping the people of Sarawak, the Sarawak government must make a decision to help the people of Sarawak by implementing the Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Fund,” said Tan in a statement today.

He said during Sarawak Legislative Assembly July sitting, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting had proposed setting up Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Fund Autonomy.

“We hope he (Ting) will take this matter seriously and table the motion for the setting up of the fund at the coming Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting and try to get the motion approved,” said Tan.

Tan said that the production of oil in Sarawak alone would be enough to entitle every Sarawakian to receive RM4,412 person per year, and this was without taking into account the production of gas for which, he claimed, Sarawak ranks second in the world. — DayakDaily