KUCHING: A government backbencher is disappointed that the Pakatan Harapan federal government did not set aside allocations under the National Budget 2019 for Sarawak to continue its Native Customary Rights (NCR) land perimeter survey.
Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman (PBB-Tupong) said although the survey is the responsibility of the Sarawak government, the previous federal government under Barisan Nasional had granted funding for such purpose.
“Due to the understanding of the federal government on the
utmost importance of this programme, previously the
federal government had assisted in giving the budget for the state government to conduct these surveys.
“But now, it makes you wonder how the federal government looks at Sarawakians when one of the most important things for us, which is the perimeter survey of the NCR land, is not included in the National Budget,” he said when debating the Supply (2019) Bill, 2018 yesterday. Fazzrudin said Sarawak needs more and faster development in order to catch up with its counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia although the state is grateful of all the development done in the past.
He noted that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently announced RM4.3 billion for Sarawak under the National Budget 2019.
“I would like very much to know what exactly the RM4.3 billion is for.
“If we look at the overall budget for development which is RM54 billion, we are getting merely seven per cent out of the total development budget.
“We were hoping that our fellow Sarawakians in the Cabinet could have fought for more budget for Sarawak, at least 30 per cent out of the development budget,” he said.
Fazzrudin said Sarawak deserved more funds despite the excuses given by Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was responsible for the economic condition of the nation.
“Please understand Right Honourable Kota Sentosa, we are talking about the existing
budget allocated for development, which is the available RM54 billion.
“We are merely asking for more from the RM54 billion. Are we not equal partners? Are we Sarawakians second class citizens to the eye of the federal government?
“One seems to feel that way by looking at how we are treated if we look at the Malaysia Budget,” he said.
At a press conference later, Fazzrudin said the disappointment of being allocated only seven per cent of the total development budget “is compensated by the announcement of the chief minister on the record RM11.9 billion budget”.
He added that the State Budget was around RM8 billion in the past while the Sarawak
government carried on the policy of setting aside 70 per cent of the budget for development purposes.
“Of the 70 per cent development budget, 50 per cent is meant for rural development. This goes to prove the government’s commitment in development,” he said.