By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 12: Serian MP Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem today requested the federal government to give a special allocation to the Dayak community in Sarawak as part of the “Vision of Shared Prosperity” policy of the present Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
He said the allocation for the Dayak community in Sarawak is crucial as they too need special attention from the government like other communities in the country.
“The economic gap between Bumiputera Dayak and Bumiputera Malay is also big. As a Dayak Bidayuh, I request the government to look into this matter.
“(This is because) if the Orang Asli are assisted by the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA), if the Indian community is given a special allocation of RM170 million, the Chinese community RM100 million in the 2021 Budget, why not a special allocation be given to the Dayak community in Sarawak?” asked Riot while debating the 2021 Budget in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur today.
On a separate issue, Riot who is the former Minister of Human Resources Development, thanked the government for assisting Social Security Organisation (Socso) members who were able to benefit from the Employees’ Insurance Scheme (EIS) after their livelihoods were affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has helped them to get through this difficult time without which their livelihoods could have been even made worse,” he stressed.
Riot also thanked the government for allowing Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contributors to withdraw their savings, up to RM6,000 next year.
“With this RM6,000, they start small businesses such as opening food stalls by the roadside. The government should consider their demands. That RM6,000 is only given to those who apply,” he said.
On the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) financial assistance, Riot expressed hope the government will have a comprehensive mechanism to assist all those who are eligible but have not been registered, especially those in the rural areas in Sarawak.
Under the 2021 Budget, the government allocated RM6.5 billion for BPR compared to RM5 billion previously.
“Its coverage will also increase to 8.1 million recipients from 4.3 million previously. BPR has been expanded and improved, which reduces the age limit of single individuals who are eligible to receive BPA from 40 to 21 now,” he said.
Besides that, Riot added, all households earning less than RM5,000 will benefit from BPR assistance; with households earning less than RM2,500 receiving between RM1,200-RM1,800.
Budget 2021 which is worth RM322.54 billion, was tabled in Parliament on Friday (Nov 6) by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. — DayakDaily