By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 16: GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says Sarawak will not “perish” due to the PH government’s alleged strategy of deliberately reducing financial allocation to Sarawak.
He said when the government first changed hands, Pakatan Harapan (PH) predicted that Sarawak would not be able to survive as development funding is controlled by federal government.
“When the federal government changed hands, I heard them (PH) saying that ‘Aiyo, Sarawak will “si” (‘perish’ in Hokkien). ‘Si o, Sarawak. Si liao’ (Perish, Sarawak. It will perish) because there will be no more funding from Kuala Lumpur. We are the ones controlling Kuala Lumpur. Sarawak will ‘si’. Do you know what is meant by ‘si’? It is ‘mati’ (‘perish’ in Bahasa Malaysia).
“They said Sarawak will be ‘teruk’ (in bad shape), because there will be no funding for rural development. There will be no capital because the federal government is the one controlling the capital,” said Abang Johari at Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Convention held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.
He said contrary to the federal government’s expectation, Sarawak has its own counter-strike strategy.
“We will not die. When I launched a RM10 billion budget, they called it a “David Copperfield” budget. But who is Raja Sihir (the Magician King)? it is DAP (Democratic Action Party).”
The Chief Minister continued by saying that even if Petronas refused to pay the five per cent petroleum sales tax, Sarawak still managed to generate revenue from other means, one of which is the setting up of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBoS).
“When I first became the chief minister, I started Development Bank of Sarawak, an independent institute that can help us.”
He said Sarawak deposits its reserves in various banks in Malaysia.
“We have big reserves in CIMB, RHB and in Malayan Banking. These are the places that we put our reserve. They (the banks) use our money to make money.”
He said that was the reason he moved some of the reserves into DBoS where the interest earned by Sarawak’s own bank may be used for development of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari rebutted the claim that Sarawak’s re-engineering is similar to 1MBD.
“The difference is, we have the money which we control in our bank, DBoS. Unlike 1MDB, which depended on offshore financing. In fact, what PH is doing now, is similar to 1MDB because they raised offshore Samurai Bond which is fluctuating in the global market.”
On Sarawak’s proactive initiative to pay RM1 billion to facilitate the repair of dilapidated schools, Abang Johari said that was because the Sarawak government wants Sarawakian children to have good schools.
He said the building of schools is the responsibility of the federal government who is collecting all kinds of taxes including income tax, road tax, and stamp duty among others, which it must later return back to the people by providing good schools.
However, he said since the federal government declared that it had no money for these schools, the Sarawak government was willing to foot the bill first though it ended up being called as “hadiah” from the PH government to Sarawak. — DayakDaily