Soon Koh: Review development projects in view of lower revenue

Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh

KUCHING, May 8: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has called on the state government to re-examine development projects announced under the state Budget 2019 and 2020.

Party president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said the state government needed to prioritise development projects that are beneficial to the people especially the rural community.

The state’s former Second Finance Minister added that development projects announced by the state government in the 2019 and 2020 budgets were not economical and “do not create value” to the people.

He believed that Budget 2019 and 2020, which factored into the estimated revenue from oil and gas as sales tax, as well as oil royalty, was unrealistic as the state government did not receive the full amount of the funds.

“The state’s revenue collection for 2019 and 2020 budgets will definitely fall short of what is expected. We must review, reprioritise and restrategise on state expenditure if there is to be any hope of economic recovery.

“We simply cannot afford to be bogged down in the quagmire of overambitious low-priority projects which do not bring significant economic returns,” he told a press conference at PSB headquarters here today.

Wong believed the state government should put on hold certain development projects such as the Second Trunk Road, the hydrogen plants, the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART), and hydrogen buses.

Citing the Second Trunk Road as an example, he explained that the state government does not need another highway, as there are already the Pan Borneo Highway and Coastal Highway, adding that the RM6 billion Second Trunk Road is irrelevant and a waste of public funds.

He opined that the Second Trunk Road does not shorten the journey from Kuching to Sibu as claimed by certain people.

He urged the state government to allocate funds to assist the rural people with the development of basic infrastructure projects.

“With limited financial resources, the state government should be prudent in its spending especially the tabling of a supplementary budget during the upcoming one-day State Legislative Assembly sitting on Monday (May 11).” — DayakDaily