KUCHING, May 12: It is most disappointing to note that the two Supplementary Supply bills passed in DUN yesterday did not touch on any economic stimulus packages for Sarawak, says Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen.
Yesterday, the Sarawak DUN passed two Supplementary supply bills, namely the Second Supplementary estimates for Ordinary Expenditure and Development Expenditure for year 2019 seeking additional funding of RM299.1 million and RM21.1 million respectively; and the First Supplementary estimates for Ordinary Expenditure and Development Expenditure for year 2020 seeking additional funding of RM382.3 million and RM788.9 million respectively.
“While the Second Supplementary estimates for 2019 are for the extra expenditure for year 2019 and thus rightly it has nothing to do with Covid-19 pandemic, one would expect that the First Supplementary estimates for 2020 will outline the economic stimulus packages to deal with the economic hardship caused by the said pandemic.
“Yet, shockingly, the First Supplementary estimates for year 2020 provides nothing about the economic stimulus packages to help the SMEs (small-medium enterprises) in Sarawak dealing with the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Chong in a statement today.
Chong said the main bulk of the supplementary estimates goes to funding the rural road and bridges, public amenities, grants to councils, allowances for civil servants and JKKK (Village Security and Development Committee) chairmen and secretary. He noted that there was nothing on helping businesses and SMEs to pull through this trying time.
The Kota Sentosa assemblyman also pointed out that there was nothing in the Supplementary estimates on the digitalisation and environmental sustainability agenda which Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had mentioned.
He believed that if the State Government was serious about digitalising the economy, then the supplementary expenditure should focus on: digitalisation of the agricultural activities, especially those in the semi-rural and the rural areas; digitalisation of the food supply chain from farm to consumers and exports; digitalisation of the retail sectors, transforming the traditional businesses and promoting e-learning for educators, both public and private sectors.
“It seems that the Supplementary Supply bills tabled by the State Government are not in line with the much-touted digitalisation agenda of Abang Johari. I call on the state government to truly set in motion and implement and not merely paying lip service to the economic digitalization agenda,” said Chong. —DayakDaily