The 2018 Federal Budget has done justice to Sarawak as the Prime Minister Najib has allocated RM 1 billion to Sarawak for a period of 2 years to repair our dilapidated schools using the Industrial Building System (IBS).
This is an area where we need most as many schools in Sarawak is in a dilapidated condition. The need to provide a conducive environment for our children’s education is of great importance. To learn, they need to feel safe and comfortable.
I appreciate the Prime Minister for seeing to the needs of Sabah and Sarawak by giving us a big slice of budget allocation which included the construction of the Pan-Borneo Highway, building and upgrading of rural roads and upgrading the communication infrastructure and broadband facilities in preparation for the Industry 4.0.
Huge allocation is also given to upgrade the electrical infrastructure for 10,000 rural homes and to provide clean water supply involving 3,000 homes in Sarawak and Sabah.
We are urgently in need of such funds as Sarawak is still far behind compared to the West Malaysia in terms of providing the basic infrastructures to all its people.
It is noteworthy to point out that 2018 Budget is still giving a priority to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) with an allocation of RM 4.9 billion.
As Sarawak is progressing to become an developed State by 2030 and the magnificent efforts and focus of our Chief Minister YAB Datuk Patinggi Datuk Amar Abang Zohari on his thoughts of bringing Sarawak to the next level of development and thus transforming Sarawak economy through Digital Technology, we would need more and more local skilled workers.
Overall, the 2018 Budget is an inclusive but strong and aggressive one. It is a balance budget covering all essential aspects to benefit all segments of the society, including the poor, the middle-income, rural folks, public servants and young adults.
The focus is given to 8 Budget Trusts that includes lowering the high cost of living, more rural development, preparing the nation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and pushing for the TN50 aspirations.
SUPP is happy with the 2018 Budget. However, I wish to point out something that I was hoping it would be mentioned in the Budget but it did not and that is the return of stamp duties for land dealings which was under the State’s jurisdiction and rightfully the revenue collected belongs to the State as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
I believe the matter is still being kept alive and that the issue can be discussed and work on to benefit the people of Sarawak.
* Datuk Sebastian Ting, SUPP Secretary General