KUCHING: Budget 2016 has shown glaringly how the federal government is ignoring Sarawak’s demand for oil justice.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, in a press statement yesterday, said this was the second federal budget since the Sarawak State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to demand for 20 per cent royalty from oil and gas taken from the state.
“Despite the state government announcing some concessions by Petronas, the federal government still fails or refuses to make any special allowances or grants from the budget in order to meet the demand of Sarawak.
“Despite the projection that oil prices will remain low in 2016, there will still be revenue of RM31.7 billion from this source.
“It is within the means of the federal government to make special allocations or grants of an additional RM4.5 billion and RM3 billion for Sarawak and Sabah respectively to help accelerate the growth in these two states, which account for more than 70 per cent of the national petroleum revenue but are still lagging far behind in infrastructural development.”
See also commented that Budget 2016 had exposed the pledges of devolution and greater autonomy over this one year as “mere fallacy and empty promises”.
“Nothing about this was mentioned in the Budget, and not a single sen was allocated for it. Budget 2016 has exposed the other fabulous falsehood of the government – that it is undertaking steps to devolve powers to Sarawak and Sabah to ensure these two states enjoy more autonomy in the terms promised, assured, undertaken and recommended in the Malaysia Agreement.”
He added that Budget 2016 also failed to live up to its theme of ‘prospering the people’.
“What matters most for the people is to increase their disposable income and the government to lower the inflationary pressure of essential goods and food items due to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposition.
“However, too little of the budget allocation is going to address the basic needs of the people, while huge allocations are going to mega projects that are unnecessary, such as the KL-Singapore high speed railway project.”
See added that the depreciation of the ringgit was ‘glaring’ despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak acknowledging it.
“Despite him acknowledging the depreciation of the ringgit, he failed to offer any solution. Parents sending their children abroad for studies are suffering from this, yet he did not offer any measures to halt the depreciation.
“The government has not offered any assistance to these students studying abroad to ease the financial burden of their parents.”