PBK president says PM Anwar's Cabinet fair but fears funds for Sarawak will be compromised

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Dec 3 — Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan today said the party is confident of the 28-member Cabinet of the national unity government assembled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday.

He said the prime minister has been able to pick representatives from the various political parties with different ideologies that have helped him to form the unity government.

“The whole team was picked with the mission to clear the national debts and to save the nation's economy first and to leave all political differences aside.

“Hopefully politicking in Cabinet will be kept to the minimum and the focus will be on saving the economy and seeking a common good for all citizens,” Voon said in a statement.

However, he expressed fear that the “goodies” for Sarawak could be compromised since the prime minister's priority is to clear national debts and save the nation's economy.

“I don't see how Sarawak will get any increment of its annual budget under this unity government,” he said, adding that all these years Sarawak had been allocated less than RM5 billion as its annual budget from the federal government.

“Without adequate funds, development in Sarawak would be slow.

“Therefore, the Sarawak First slogan used by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the last state and 15th general elections will be a far distant aspiration or an impossible political mission by the government,” he said.

Voon said Anwar had hinted at austerity, signalling to all citizens to tighten their belts and no unnecessary spending.

“In line with this austerity drive, I hope that the annual bonus for the state government civil servants be scrapped and the funds are used to help stall-holders and unlicensed traders and hawkers to boost street business,” he said.

He was referring to an announcement by state Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg at the recent state assembly sitting that the state civil servants would be getting a special incentive payment of one and a half month's basic salary or a minimum RM2,000 and federal officers serving in Sarawak to get RM500 as special incentives for their contributions to the state, before the end of this year.

He said it would also be unlikely under the unity government that the Sarawak government can get the 50 per cent return of all revenues taken by the federal government as promised by Pakatan Harapan during 14th general elections.