MIRI, Nov 16: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) welcomes and fully supports the recent announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that the Sarawak government will allocate a sum of fund to ensure that all Sarawakians will have access to the vaccine for Covid-19 once it is made available.
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component party also gave its nod to the initiative to undertake a thorough feasibility study for the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund in his winding up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting last Friday.
According to SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting, free Covid-19 vaccine for all Sarawakians and the establishment of the Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Fund were two of the six resolutions proposed by SUPP to the Chief Minister when he attended the party’s convention on Oct 18 this year.
“We are very happy, honoured, and thankful to the Chief Minister for putting a priority in protecting the health of everyone and securing a better future for all Sarawakians,” Ting said in a statement.
He added, SUPP believes that the establishment of Sarawak’s own sovereign wealth fund is crucial to ensure that the future generations will continue to benefit from the oil and gas revenues even after the depletion of the State’s oil and gas resources.
“Furthermore, as what the Chief Minister had mentioned in his winding up speech that the sovereign wealth fund can also help as a buffer in times of financial crisis so we are better prepared for any future outside disasters which could affect us as what the Covid-19 pandemic has done to cripple the world’s economy,” he explained.
“I had spoken extensively about the establishment of Sarawak Sovereign Fund using the surplus revenues from our oil and gas sectors in DUN during the debate of Oil Mining (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 and the debate of Tuan Yang Terutama’s opening speech back in July 2018,” he added.
He pointed out there was a need to ensure that Sarawak continues to be financially stable and strong for the future generations.
“Back then, my thoughts were for our Sarawak government to establish a Sarawak Sovereign Fund similar to the one in Norway which is also known as the Oil Fund,” he said.
He added the Norwegian sovereign fund invested into more than 9,000 companies worldwide including the likes of Apple, Nestle, Microsoft and Samsung. On average the fund owns 1.5 per cent of all of the world’s listed companies.
“The investments are widespread across most markets, countries and currencies to achieve broad exposure to global growth and ensure good risk diversification. It is true to say that one cannot ‘put all our eggs in one basket’.
“How about Sarawak? Sarawak has about 11 billion barrel oil equivalent of oil reserve and about 56.4 trillion standard cubic feet of natural gas reserve for a population of just around 2.8 million people,” he added.
Ting further said, Bintulu liquefied natural gas complex is one of the largest LNG production centres in the world.
“To sum up, this illustrates the huge scale of wealth that Sarawak has and with the establishment of Petros, a brain child of our Chief Minister, and the passing of Sarawak Distribution Gas Ordinance 2016, the potential for future growth and thus wealth is tremendous”, he asserted.
Looking at these figures, he concluded that with proper and prudent investment, the reputation of which Sarawak Government has all these years, the State could have a sovereign wealth fund like Norway to safeguard the wellbeing of the people and build strong financial wealth for its future generations.
“We hope 30 years from now, all our children and their children will be millionaires, indeed, let us all unite to achieve our Sarawak dream, a prosperous and strong Sarawak and a high income Sarawak by the year 2030,” Ting added. — DayakDaily