KUCHING, June 22: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth leader Michael Tiang has rubbished Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s comment that Sarawak would be bankrupt in three years time as the state’s coffer of RM30 billion would have been exhausted by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government.
“Why would Sarawak government need to touch on our reserves when we have extra revenue such as from the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products?” he asked.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has been working hard to diversify and multiply the state’s revenue through exploring new opportunities as well as introducing new products and continuing to innovate to boost revenue and accelerate development towards achieving the vision of making Sarawak a high-income state by 2030.
With the implementation of five per cent sales tax on petroleum products, Tiang shared that the state government was projected to collect RM3.8 billion this year.
“In fact, the state government has collected RM2 billion since January. Compared with the allocation from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government, they only gave Sarawak RM4.3 billion for annual development,” he said.
Last night, Lim said Sarawak would be bankrupt in three years if GPS were to maintain Sarawak’s annual budget at RM11 billion each year.
Sarawak tabled a record State Budget of RM11.9 billion for 2019. Abang Johari said the state’s main revenue was projected to come from sales tax on petroleum and petroleum products.
The federal government, Tiang pointed out, should be the ‘parent’ who has the responsibility of taking care of their ‘child’ (Sarawak).
“Sadly, it is the opposite. Malaya is using Sarawak’s abundant resources and wealth to sustain national developments but which mostly were focused in the peninsula,” he said.
Since Sarawak is a significant contributor to Malaysia’s revenue, he said the finance minister should help promote and strengthen Sarawak’s financial standing and ensuring economic growth such as bringing more investments into Sarawak.
“And definitely not making such irresponsible and untruthful speculations that Sarawak would go bankrupt in three years, It’s plain foolishness for a finance minister to say those words in public,” he added.
Tiang lashed out and said he had never come across any finance minister in other countries saying something that would tarnish the financial integrity of the country.
“Lim would be the first and, therefore, a laughing stock to the others,” he said.
He asked Lim who would bear the losses if foreign investors shy away from Sarawak as his claim would create doubts and uncertainty.
Tiang also reminded Lim not to label and treat Sarawak as an opposition state, as Sarawak is one of the three founding nations of the Federation of Malaysia.
“He can treat Pahang or Kelantan as opposition states since they are part of Malaya, but when it comes to Sarawak, the federal government is constitutionally obliged to work and cooperate with the GPS government, which is elected by Sarawakians,” he pointed out. — DayakDaily