PRESS STATEMENT: By Parti Bumi Kenyalang Jamie Tiew, Treasurer-General. Date: 7.11. 2019
Although it is impossible for the government to please everyone, but, the GPS government had done much injustice by not seeking the opinions of the people before coming with the budget.
NGOs, Political, business and charitable organizations should have been consulted before the budget has to be tabled. If GPS government had sought opinions of some stakeholders before the budget been drafted and tabled, this would save a lot of criticisms against the GPS government by some quarters.
The budget by the GPS government is a letdown as it is seen as a race based budget and not an All-Sarawakian Budget. After the budget was announced, many people were not happy with the budget. The budget will cause many votes against the GPS government in the rural areas.
The Chinese community is not happy with the budget as there is no allocation for Chinese education in Sarawak. GPS government will have a price to pay in coming elections.
The government has to take the blame for the decline of fish stock due to past unsound policies of allowing foreign trawlers been given licence to fish in our waters. This had caused the government to come with the monthly RM300 for fishermen with equipment assistance. This is seen by many dayaks as a race motivated budget because most fishermen are from the malay community. To these dayaks, who mostly are from the rural areas are asking, why such monthly allowance be given to the fishermen and no such allowance be given to the farmers because farmers in the rural are also very poor?
The natives are also not happy that only RM40 million is allocated for perimeter survey of the 52,000 hectares of Native Customary Rights Land (NCR). This is woefully inadequate. Again, it is doubtful that this amount of money would be spent in full for the job before the next budget. If the remaining allocated funds are not utilized, they would be returned to the State Treasury as the allocations could not be carried forward.
The GPS government also had lost sight of the importance to lift the plight of the people in the rural areas. While free water for the first RM5 of the monthly water bills for urban and rural areas, a welcome policy but, it is something the people in the rural areas could not, without being supplied with water pipes, enjoy. Each dry season, people in the rural areas are begging and crying for water and the government should no more come with “Water Tank Policy”. This will forever not able to solve the water woes in the rural areas.
The RM40 million allocations for free water supply for the urban and rural areas could be put to a better use for providing water supplies to rural schools. Provision of clean water to school children in rural areas is more important than provision of free water to households in the urban areas.
The GPS government policy to provide a free school bus service to students in Kuching City is also not a sound policy. Although the government is seen as sympathetic to poor students in urban areas who could not provide transport to school but the GPS government had failed to understand that students in many rural areas have to walk miles and miles to schools along the snake infested paths in the jungle and farms before they could reach school. Such allocations should be put to better use for building small paths or roads for these school children and rural folks. For students in town areas, at least they still could walk along and get a lift from friends and neighbours.
It is disappointing to find out nothing is done to enhance our agricultural sector. It is important that with huge land, Sarawak, should aggressively develop its livestock and agriculture sectors in large scale. This will reduce import of dairy products, rice and vegetables from foreign countries, in which, mostly are expensive due to transportation and logistics costs. By depending on villages to produce rice, fruits and vegetables for the people of Sarawak is not what a responsible government should do.
The government should get expertise and investors from Korea, China, Japan and Thailand to develop our agriculture and animal farming sectors.
If our livestock and agriculture sectors are developed, this will encourage young people who are not working in neighbouring countries to come back to work in the farm.