Soo – Budget for Sarawak a big fat zero

Lina Soo

KUCHING, Nov 3: Sarawak Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo described the national Budget 2019 as a “kindergarten budget lacking substance and tangibility”, while for Sarawak, it was just a “Big Fat Zero”.

She said one of the reasons being Sarawak’s allocation of RM4.346 billion for development is a mere 0.23 per cent increase from the RM4.336 billion which Sarawak received in 2018.

“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) has just announced that Petronas has money to pay federal government RM30 billion which is a special dividend attributed to the rising price from less than US$50 at the beginning of the year.

“Sarawak produces the most expensive oil in the world which is the darling of refiners for its lightness and extremely low suphur content.”

“With its oil price at US$77 today, and Sarawak producing as much as 800,000 boe (barrel of oil equivalent) per day, this is equivalent to a production of RM250 million every single day.”

“Why is Sarawak not getting a sen of this ‘windfall profit’ due to the recent increased price for Sarawak oil. Instead RM30 billion of this extraordinary profit will go to Federal government which already receives royalty, dividend and taxes, with nothing for Sarawak who is the goose that lays the golden egg,” said Soo in a statement today.

She said Sarawak alone contributes 10-12 per cent of Malaysia’s GDP annually. At RM115 billion in Budget 2018, an allocation of RM4.3 billion is just 3 per cent of Sarawak’s contribution.

“Out of the national budget of RM314 billion, Sarawak is getting a mere 1.3 per cent for all its contribution for Budget 2018.

“What is the benefit of remaining in a relationship where what one party has to give is all out of gross proportion to what one receives in return,” Soo pointed out.

She said Pakatan Harapan’s sweet words of equal partnerships and promises of development for Sarawak were just political rhetoric to hoodwink Sarawakians.

“When budget time comes, we are just equal partners to Perlis or Kedah,” said Soo.

Soo noted that Sarawakians are now better aware of our interests, rights and protections enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and our Constitutions, and sweet promises of nothing will no longer pacify Sarawakians so easily as in the past.

Soo believed the people of Sarawak will be more determined now in demanding their rights and dues which had gone unheeded and been brushed aside for so long.

“I urge the Sarawak government to take action to compel Petronas to share half of its windfall profits generated from Sarawak which had been exploited and impoverished for so long.

“Sarawak Reform Party shall continue to play its role effectively as critique and watchdog for Sarawak,” said Soo. — DayakDaily