Uggah chides Wong for misleading public about state finance

Uggah at Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting today (May 11, 2020).

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, May 11:  Second Finance Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas assures that the Sarawak government has the contingency fund to fight Covid-19, contrary to the allegation of former Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh who insisted that Sarawak lacks fund for the purpose.

Uggah emphasised that the issue of brought up by Wong that the State government is lacking fund “did not occur and will not happen”.

Uggah who is Bukit Saban assemblyman said he was shocked by the allegation made by Wong who is Bawang Assan assemblyman questioning the State government’s ability to pay for the programme (the three economic stimulus packages of Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang introduced to fight Covid-19 pandemic).

“He even pointed out that there is no contingency fund approved for 2020.

“It is indeed baffling to see someone who had served as a Second Finance Minister in Sarawak for 15 years could be so out of touch with the State’s financial system let alone the financial mechanism that he had supported before his resignation less than a year ago.

“I cannot believe that YB Bawang Assan choose to mislead the public that there is no provision of contingency reserve in budget 2020,” he said prior to the tabling of the 2020 supplementary budget at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex here today.

Uggah who is Deputy Chief Minister said the state government is looking into the implications of the article.

“Although the government will accept constructive criticisms, the government reserves its rights to take measures to protect its integrity over insinuations of improper motives as well malicious attempts to mislead and embarrass the government,” said Uggah who is also Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.

Uggah explained that the state government has the financial resources to implement all the three economic stimulus packages amounting to RM2.55 billion.

He disclosed that the sources of funding were from the contingency fund, micro credit scheme of the 2020 development budget, savings from unimplemented projects, savings from development fund account while RM1 billion is the Special Relief Fund from Bank Negara Malaysia whereby the Sarawak government absorbs the interest incurred.

Uggah revealed that three stimulus packages, Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid Package 1 (BKSS) which worth RM1.15 billion; BKSS 2.0, RM1.1 billion and BKSS 3.0, RM300 million announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg were to cushion the impact of Covid-19 for Sarawakians people and businesses. — DayakDaily

Note of Editor: The story has been updated with more details.