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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 21: The “Sarawak will go bankrupt” statement brought up by the Opposition during the recent State Legislative Assembly has nothing to do with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) projects, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Abang Johari said this as he told off Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak, advising them not to “spin a story out of it” and continue to fool the people.
Recalling the statement by DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng at a function in 2019, Abang Johari said he meant that if the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was to maintain the annual budget at RM10 billion each year, the State’s reserve of RM30 billion will be depleted, causing Sarawak to go bankrupt.
“That’s what he said (not referring to the proposed ART project but that of Sarawak’s annual budget). Jangan nak pusing pusing lah (don’t spin the story around). It is recorded. I am not that silly.
“But don’t worry, we won’t go bankrupt. You can fool the people once or twice but not all the time.
“Any accountant would know how the balance sheet works right with money coming in and going out. Impossible for money to be going out only,” he chided the Opposition.
He highlighted this when officiating at the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) 25th Triennial Delegates Conference (TDC) 2022 held at the party’s headquarters here today which was attended by its top leadership and members.
Leading Sarawak for five years now, Abang Johari said Sarawak is still not bankrupt but there is money coming in from various streams of revenue, such as hydropower, oil and gas, Sales Tax, alternative funding to the latest carbon credit in the future.
“(Now) We want to form our own sovereign fund to save our money. We know how to manage our economy,” he added.
Continuing to criticise the Opposition over the ART issue, he added: “People don’t realise new technology (will change lives), (they) don’t want the ART, and are even confused whether it is automated or autonomous. Confused.”
Abang Johari reiterated his seriousness in implementing the ART project as public transportation is an important component as Sarawak grows, develops and progresses.
“We are going to do that (ART) because if China can do so with the China Consul also present today, Sarawak also can do it. But we must have the determination and concrete economic planning,” he said.
With Sarawak taking an aggressive and firm approach to exert its authority in restoring its rights in accordance with Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as well as continuous efforts to expand its economy, Abang Johari believes Sarawak will be the rising star in the region.
SUPP president and Deputy Premier, Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and all SUPP lawmakers from throughout Sarawak were present at the event. — DayakDaily