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KUCHING, Oct 30: Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) views that the Budget 2022 tabled which only preserved the “status quo or slightly decreases” will not do enough to address issues and for the development of Sarawak.
Its president Gary Ningkan pointed out that the RM4.6 billion allocated for Sarawak development expenditure was only a slight increase but it is still lower than that of Sabah despite Sarawak being a bigger state.
“There is a need for a greater influx of development funds if we are serious about getting Sarawak to be on par with Peninsular Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.
He was commenting about the Budget 2022 tabled by Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz in Parliament yesterday.
As for the RM746 million allocated for dilapidated schools in Malaysia, he said that it fell far short compared to the RM750 million approved in 2021 specifically for Sarawak and Sabah.
“The RM746 million is for 330 schools upgrading projects (in Sabah and Sarawak) out of which 165 is for Sarawak.
“Also, the one-off RM100 payment for school teachers as a token of appreciation for their contribution especially in purchasing learning materials to facilitate home-based learning and teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic is too low,” he added.
He also saw that there were no major incentives or initiatives to help the middle income or M40 group who are also struggling amidst the current pandemic.
Gary was also disappointed that there was no specific budget to improve the livelihood of the Dayak community especially in rural Sarawak.
“Dayak community made up the largest group in rural Sarawak which is among the poorest in Malaysia and yet there is no specific allocation to improve the livelihood of the rural Dayak community particularly pertaining to education and business subsidy.
“This has to be addressed by all, more so given that rural Sarawak has continuously produced world class talents in various industries and sports,” he stressed.
In Budget 2022, the Federal government has set aside RM274 million to implement programmes to improve the living standards of the Orang Asli community, such as subsidies and schooling assistance, as well as welfare assistance for the benefit of almost 200,000 Orang Asli.
However, Gary commended the initiative to provide tablets for all undergraduate students from the lower income or B40 group as he noted that there was no such allocation in last year’s budget.
“This is a good initiative to assist the B40 group as such a device is an important tool for e-learning,” he said.
He also welcomed the incentive provided to encourage employers to hire more trainees or apprentices as a short-term solution for the worrying state of unemployment among graduates in Malaysia.
“This budget also emphasised on women empowerment and providing subsidies for women healthcare and wellbeing. It is vital to further empower and encourage women in leadership roles in Malaysia,” he added. — DayakDaily