Councils to absorb GST for services


Adenan is given a rousing welcome when he arrived for the ceremony to mark the abolishment of the Lanang Bridge toll yesterday.

SIBU: Local authorities in Sarawak will absorb the Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed for their services, announced Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem here yesterday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the abolition of the Lanang Bridge toll, the Chief Minister said: “There will be no tax payable for municipal services.

“The state government will pay them on behalf of the people.”

Adenan performs the flag-off ceremony as (from second right) Entulu, Mohd Asfia, Fadillah, Manyin and others look on.

The Chief Minister’s Office told The Borneo Post yesterday that details of its implementation were being worked out, and Adenan would make an announcement on it soon.

Johor, Penang and Terengganu had recently made similar announcements to ease the financial burden on ratepayers, while Selangor was seeking exemption from the Finance Ministry.

Adenan acknowledged that the prices of goods had increased since the implementation of GST on April 1. He told the 10,000-strong crowd present that it was something beyond his control as the new tax structure was a federal matter.

“The state government will try to lessen the people’s burden by abolishing toll, reducing power tariffs and other things.”

He added this was the sort of thing the government and people could do together for the good of the state.

“Keep it up. Do not follow the examples of people in Peninsular Malaysia who never stop fighting among themselves. We are Sarawakians. We live in peace with one another. They can learn from us … not just we learn from them. We, for instance, have been practising the 1Malaysia spirit a long time ago. They do not have to tell us what to do now.”

Part of the 10,000-strong crowd witnessing the abolition of Lanang Bridge toll rejoice as Adenan’s chants his signature ‘uuuhaaa’.

Sarawak has 26 local councils, and they are broadly divided into northern, southern and central regions under the purview of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

On another matter, Adenan made a fresh call to the people to work with him and not to work for him. He said since assuming office some 15 months ago, he had done quite a number of things for the benefit of the people, including reducing power tariffs, securing RM2.1 billion worth of contracts from Petronas for Sarawak companies in the oil and gas sector, and fighting illegal logging activities.

“We have achieved all these in only one year. If you give me five more years, there will be more problems I can solve for you.

“That is all I want. You can try me if you want to…whether I walk the talk.” Adenan, who is also Tanjong Datu assemblyman, admitted he had yet to succeed in his endeavour to get the federal government to increase the oil and gas (O&G) royalty for Sarawak from the current five per cent to 20 per cent.

A section of the 10,000-strong crowd shows their support for Adenan at the ceremony.

He gave an assurance that he would keep on fighting for this cause for as long as he remained the state’s chief executive.

“We have discussed with Petronas to increase the participation of Sarawak companies in the (O&G) sector.

“The gas and oil belong to Sarawak. We do not want to be merely spectators. We want to be participants.” On the Lanang Bridge toll, he said its abolition had nothing to do with the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

He said Woodville Development Sdn Bhd, the toll concession company of Lanang Bridge and a subsidiary of Shin Yang Group, had its reasons for agreeing to waive the toll collection unconditionally.

Reading a letter from Shin Yang Group executive chairman Tan Sri Datuk Ling Chiong Hoe, Adenan said the company did it for the benefit of the people and nation.

“When I negotiated this deal with Ling, DAP was not there. So, the people should give credit to where it is due.

“In fact, Ling has agreed to donate the toll workers’ quarters for the setting up of a 1Malaysia Clinic here.”

Sibu Municipal Council chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King (second left) joins the crowd to show their appreciation for the abolition of the toll.

Adenan also thanked the late Tan Sri Lau Hui Kang and his son Dato Henry Lau from KTS Group for not charging toll at Igan Bridge even though they were allowed to.

At the function, Adenan announced allocations totalling RM9.84 million for Sibu Municipal Council to carry out upgrading works here.

Of the amount, RM1 million was for Tuanku Haji Bujang Square, RM1 million for Taman Selera Harmoni, RM700,000 for drainage at Kampung Bahagia Jaya in Teku, RM920,000 for drainage at Kampung Jeriah, RM520,000 for Kampung Sentosa, RM2.7 million for Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Road/Then Kung Suk Road and RM3 million for Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Road/Lanang Road.

Present were Minister of Local Government and Community Development Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusuf, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Joseph Entulu and Ling.