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Deputy premier: Putrajaya duty bound to allocate funding for Sarawak’s development

Publish date: Sun, 04 Jun 2023, 06:12 PM

KUCHNG, June 4 — The federal government is duty bound to allocate funding for the development of Sarawak, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The Deputy Premier said despite the unprecedented level of revenue recorded by Sarawak, the federal government still has to allocate funds for the development of Sarawak, particularly after extracting a huge oil and gas resources from the state over the past decades.

“Under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), it is the federal government’s obligation and responsibility to give us money, not just because we got money already (so there is no need for allocation).

“It is Sarawak’s entitlement,” he said during the party’s 64th anniversary celebration since founding at the party headquarters here today.

Dr Sim pointed out that Sarawak under the leadership of Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg had achieved RM12 billion in revenue last year, and RM5 billion in revenue in the first three months of this year.

He said 2018 marked a turning point for Sarawak after SUPP, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Parti Rakyat Sarawak, and Progressive Democratic Party left the Barisan Nasional coalition and set up Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), with the aim of achieving political and financial independence.

He added Abang Johari has unveiled the ambitious Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 to chart the way forward for the state, with inclusivity, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity as the key pillars.

The other initiative is the Sarawak sovereign wealth fund with an initial appropriation of RM8 billion next year, Dr Sim said.

Thus, he said the priority of the GPS administration now is to seek the implementation of the state’s rights enshrined in MA63 as soon as possible, including healthcare and education autonomy.

He also explained a political decision has to be made in regards to the much-publicised proposal to set up a cancer centre in the state.

Citing the success of Sarawak Heart Centre as an example, Dr Sim said 245,000 Sarawakian patients had benefitted from the services at the centre over the past 22 years.

“Another problem in Sarawak is our declining birth rate. Sarawak’s population is getting old and we will be an aging society by 2027. By 2028, the population of Primary 1 pupils will be half of that it is today.”

At the same time, Dr Sim said it is crucial for SUPP to be a part of mainstream politics under the ruling GPS coalition to drive Sarawak towards a prosperous future.

He pointed out that SUPP is now supported by over 120,000 members throughout the state since its establishment in 1959, and that the party continues to remain relevant in fighting for the interests of the state.

“Because of the people in Sarawak, we remain around since 1959 but these 64 years have not been an easy journey. Some parties have ‘close shop’ but I promise we will remain relevant and reliable for our services and fighting for Sarawak in mainstream politics.”

He also chastised critics who have “repeatedly cast doubt” on the party’s leadership and role in the struggle for a better Sarawak, as well as fostering division within the party.

Meanwhile, he informed that in celebration of Sarawak’s 60th anniversary of independence this year, a convention would be held soon with Abang Johari gracing the event. — Borneo Post

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