MIRI: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Pujut chairman Bruce Chai gave the thumbs down to State Budget 2020, claiming that Miri was left out and would miss economic growth opportunities from better port access and industrial development.
Saying he was bewildered and disappointed, he pointed out that “there is really nothing Mirians can look forward to in Budget 2020 apart from mere mention of upgrading for Niah Caves, petroleum museum, old building of previous Resident’s and District Office and others,” he said.
Chai, who is currently abroad, was commenting on the RM9.98 billion State Budget 2020.
He was unhappy that no funds were allocated to boost Miri Port performance despite the state government proposing to undertake three major projects worth RM78.5 million to improve the state’s ports.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, when tabling the State Budget 2020 on Nov 4, revealed that out of the total, RM8 million would be for investigations, survey, hydraulic study and preparation of a master plan of a deep sea port at Tanjung Po, Kuching, RM30.5 million for Kuching Vessel Traffic Management system and RM40 million for safe navigation aids of access channel from Tanjong Manis to Rajang Port.
“I am extremely disappointed as a Mirian and it is disheartening to see such a budget which is tantamount to abandonment of Miri City which has contributed so much to Sarawak’s economy during the heydays of the oil and gas industry,” stressed Chai.
He was disappointed that the urgent Kuala Baram river deepening works to ease navigation was not taken into account.
‘Our shipyards are closing one after another, causing jobs to be terminated, and there is no economic stimulus in Budget 2020,” he said.
He blamed this on both the current government and the Opposition leaders from Miri, accusing them of lacking the will to fight for real progress of the city.
“Where are youths going to get jobs, where is the stimulus to our economy, where is our masterplan?” he asked.
He said the lack of economic growth and employment opportunities has driven people away from Miri and calls for deepening of Baram River mouth continued to go unheeded although locals have high hopes that the shallow draft to Miri Port will be redressed by the authorities.
He also lamented the lack of allocation for industrial development in Miri compared to other parts of the state.