KUCHING: Krian assemblyman Ali Biju has slammed the 2020 Sarawak Budget as “highly irresponsible” because its provisions were made based on an uncertain revenue stream.
He pointed out that the RM2.878 billion included in the Budget as revenue from the sales tax on petroleum, liquified natural gas (LNG) and other petroleum products, was very doubtful as there has been no sign that national oil company, Petronas, would pay up anytime soon.
“Petronas has to date been non-committal about paying any of this tax. In the 2020 State Budget, the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) himself admitted that there has been no response from Petronas to pay this tax.
“In that same breath he states that Petronas will be subjected to legal proceedings if they do not pay. In that light and in view of that, Petronas has not paid or indicated that they will pay, as a matter of financial prudence whether the inclusion of the same as revenue is practical.
“It is a well accepted principle that to be an effective instrument, the budget should be as comprehensive as possible,” he said when debating the Budget in the State Legislative Assembly today.
He added that the budget should be reflective of actual initiatives based on real revenue streams.
“In that respect, I am for any and all benefits that may flow to the state, but making provisions based on something that is uncertain is highly irresponsible, serves to mislead and manifestly reckless,” said Ali.
He also accused the state government of refusing, failed or neglected to allocate funds for the rural transformation programme (RTP) for areas under Pakatan Harapan (PH) elected representatives.
He said this was an obvious political political move which was unethical, unprofessional and went against the very statement of ‘will ensure that no one is left behind’.
“If the state is sincere about ensuring all Sarawakians benefit from the RTP, the constituencies under PH should get similar allocations to develop their areas.
“This RTP allocation can be channelled through state government agencies such as District Offices and District Councils,” said Ali.