Friday, November 22

Allocation of special funds for Sarawak a welcoming move, says CM pol-sec

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Michael Tiang

SIBU: The Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government’s recognition of Sarawak’s rights through the allocation of special funds under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, as announced during tabling of Budget 2020 in Parliament on Friday, is definitely a welcoming move.

According to political secretary to chief minister Michael Tiang, the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his team have been fighting for these rights, as provided in the Federal Constitution.

“We are only fighting for what are rightly ours, not for some extra handouts from PH. But, I must also point out that the extra allocation of RM32 million is still far from the 20 per cent oil royalty as promised by PH during GE14 (14th general election in 2018).

“The amount allocated under Article 112D for 2020 is petty, compared to Sarawak’s oil production for the federal side, which is easily more than RM200 million a day,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Tiang said PH had continued to break its promises.

“I hope the PH Sarawak leaders, who are part of the federal government, would come clean for once and explain to us Sarawakians, why we (Sarawak) being an oil production state, is getting less than (what) Sabah (is getting).

“Is Budget 2020 another political tool used to marginalise Sarawak?”

Tiang also called out to PH Sarawak leaders who, prior to GE14, had shouted slogans about wanting to make the people’s lives better.

“Instead, we are getting worse now. Just look at the Ministry of Education.

“It continues to have the biggest slice from the national funds allocated under Budget 2020, but it fails to address the problem of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.”

Tiang said the Sarawak government had repeatedly requested for RM1 billion to repair the dilapidated schools in the state.

“Sarawak still has to share the RM783-million allocation for dilapidated schools with Sabah.

“Also, the Education Ministry states that there is no plan for new schools in Sarawak, even though the annual growth rate of Sarawak population is around two per cent. It is true that we are also facing more rural-to-urban migration, due to shortage of schools.”

In this regard, Tiang said it was ‘easy to shoot out words from the air-conditioned office in Putrayaya, instead of seeing and studying the actual scenario on the ground’.

“I can give a blatant example – in Sibu Jaya, there is only one secondary school and two primary schools, to cater for a growing population of 40,000,” he said, adding that the two primary schools had exceeded their capacities many years ago.