Sarawak State Assembly Must Meet More Than One Day to Discuss Covid-19 Economic Issues


We call on the chief minister to instruct the Speaker of the state legislative assembly to extend the sitting of the state legislative assembly from 1 day to 5 days starting from the 11th of May 2020.

With the covid-19 pandemic and MCO extended to the 14th May and the expected economic fallouts following the pandemic the state government must address the immediate issues to both the coronavirus and economic issues.

We were shocked when our CM announced that his economic recovery strategy is to set up a Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC) to formulate economic agendas for the state post Covid-19 pandemic. He said the said SEAC is to get feedbacks from all the skate holders to be submitted to the state government by September 2020.

The issues such as how, when, and what to open up the economic activities mush be addressed and how the state government can help to mitigate hundreds of thousands of potential job lost as SMEs close down. These can’t wait till September 2020 and the finance minister must act immediately.

Our CM mentioned Sarawak’s economic, social and governance sector in 2030 which is laughable as we are talking about the survival of most economy sectors in 2020, the potential lost of jobs in the thousands and whether there is a chance for partial economic recovery by 2021. What our CM did is like telling a terminally ill patient about the medical breakthrough that might happen 10 years from now.

The US has lost 30 million jobs in a month and the UK expected a negative 14% ofits GDP in 2020 while Singapore has warned that its economic might never return to what it used to be. That’s the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and yet our state government are still sleeping on the jobs.

The state legislative assembly has been scheduled to sit on the 11th May 2020 for 1 day only and this is unacceptable given that Sarawak is facing the worst economy after this covid-19 pandemic. Many issues have to be discussed and debated in the state legislative assembly such as:

1) The budget of 2020 which was passed by the house in November 2019 did not have contingency plan for the pandemic and the shortfall of revenues due to the pandemic were never expected and factored inside the said Sarawak budget 2020, we need a revived 2020 budget to be passed by the house for the government to implement,

2) The SarawakuSayang Assistance packages announced by the chief minister valued at RM2.55 billion has to be passed in the house as it was not in the Sarawak budget 2020, the executive branch of the government must be answerable to the legislature of Sarawak,

3) Since the state government has lost its direction as how best to address the economy recovery such as the how, when and what are the exit plans, then it has to turn to the house for suggestions and ideas as whatever strategies it has will need the financial allocations which need to be approved and passed by the house,

4) The urgency of a recovery plan can’t wait till after September 2020, it has to be now, and

5) If the house can sit for 1 day then there is no reason why it can’t sit for 5 days with proper planning and adhering to the SOP of the ministry of health.

It is sad that by the time of this press release we have yet to receive the supplementary supply bill to be tabled and passed by the state legislative assembly on Monday and this shows the incompetent of the finance minister and the state legislative assembly.

We call on the state government to listen to the call of the opposition members of the state legislative assembly to extend the sitting of the state legislative assembly to 5 days to allow the assembly to debate and formulate the necessary strategies on how to move Sarawak forward post Covid-19 pandemic.

David Wong
ADUN for N.54 Pelawan