Press Statement by Chong Chieng Jen:
It is most disappointing to note that the 2 Supplementary Supply bills passed in DUN yesterday didn’t touch on any economic stimulus package for Sarawak.
Yesterday, the Sarawak DUN passed 2 Supplementary supply bills, namely:
- The Second Supplementary estimates for Ordinary Expenditure and Development Expenditure for year 2019 seeking additional funding of RM299.1 million and RM21.1 million respectively; and
- The First Supplementary estimates for Ordinary Expenditure and Development Expenditure for year 2020 seeking additional funding of RM382.3 million and RM788.9 million respectively.
While the Second Supplementary estimates for 2019 are for the extra expenditure for year 2019 and thus rightly it has nothing to do with Covid-19 pandemic, one would expect that the First Supplementary estimates for 2020 will outline the economic stimulus packages to deal with the economic hardship caused by the said pandemic.
Yet, shockingly, the First Supplementary estimates for year 2020 provides nothing about the economic stimulus packages to help the SMEs in Sarawak deal with the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The main bulk of the supplementary estimates goes to funding the rural road and bridges, public amenities, grants to councils, allowances for civil servants and JKKKs’ chairmen and secretary. But nothing on helping businesses and SMEs to pull through this trying time.
Also, there is nothing in the Supplementary estimates on the digitalisation and environmental sustainability agenda which Abang Jo has spoken so much about.
If the State Government is serious about digitalize the economy, then the supplementary expenditure should focus on:
- digitalisation of the agricultural activities, especially those in the semi-rural and the rural areas;
- digitalisation of the food supply chain from farm to consumers and exports;
- digitalisation of the retail sectors, transforming the traditional businesses;
- promoting e-learning for educators, both public and private sectors.
It seems that the Supplementary supply bills tabled by the State Government is not in line with the much touted digitalization agenda of Abang Jo.
I call on the state government to truly set in motion and implement and not merely paying lip service to the economic digitalization agenda.