Tuesday, November 24

‘Mixed feelings’ about Budget 2021, says Abdullah Saidol

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Abdullah Saidol

KUCHING (Nov 7): Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Corporate Affairs and Sarawak Public Communication Unit) Abdullah Saidol said he had mixed feelings over Budget 2021 tabled yesterday.

Pointing out that the RM 322.5 billion budget as a deficit budget, he said as much as 72 per cent (RM236.5 billion) was set aside for operation and management expenditure, adding that it would be substantially used to support the operation of the Covid-19 frontliners.

“Whilst a bit disappointed with the not-so-impressive 21 per cent (RM69 billion) allocation for development,  but you can’t avoid putting some into the Covid-19 fund which is RM17 billion, an estimate of 5 per cent from the budget.

“Coming from a deficit budget, the RM4.5 billion special allocation for Sarawak is appreciated,” he said in a statement today.

He also expressed his gratitude to the federal government for the RM1.7 billion allocation in the form of subsidies, aid and incentive for farmers and fishermen.

He noted that if the distribution process are not efficient and not hitting the right target, this allocation will go to waste and do not carry any relief impact.

“Also appreciated is the allocation of RM6.5 billion for Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) that will benefit 8.1 million individuals – an increment of RM 1.5 billion compared to RM 5 billion last year which only benefit 4.3 million beneficiaries.

To sustain the movement or survival of economic or trade cycle, especially amongst the SMEs, he commented that there are many incentives that are given to this group, expressing his hopes that this effort will work.

While he perceived Budget 2021 as a daring one, at the same time he said he also admired the humanitarian contents of this budget, as he said its theme ‘Stand United, We Shall Prevail’ focused on prevailing and embracing the conscience of the people.

This, he added, because the people’s trust was priceless.