KUCHING, Nov 8 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan today urged members of parliament from Sarawak to fight for the special RM1,000 grant for traders, taxi drivers, e-hailing drivers and tour guides in the state.
She questioned why the special grant under the federal Budget 2021 was allocated only for Sabah.
“I would like to see our members of parliament fight for this special grant in Parliament,” she said when asked to comment on the federal Budget 2021 presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz last Friday.
Kho also hoped for the Sarawakian MPs to fight for a big allocation in the RM2 billion Green Technology Financing Scheme 3.0, reasoning that Sarawak is the only state embarking on hydrogen energy research in the South-east Asia region.
She said she is also glad to see the Budget invest on emerging technologies and digital infrastructure, especially RM1 billion for Industrial Digital Transformation Scheme and RM7.4 billion to increase broadband service in 2021 and 2022.
According to the PwC’s Budget 2021 Overview, she said the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction Recovery (GFDRR) reported net benefit of infrastructure investment is US$4 (RM16) for every US$1 invested, especially in the low and medium-income countries.
She said she is glad to see RM150 million in grants for the digitalisation and automation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Budget 2021 is quite disappointing, pointing out that she had expressed her concern when the federal government announced RM700 million worth of grants and loans to finance the digital transformation of SMEs in June 2020.
“Automation not only increases productivity but greatly reduces our dependency on foreign workers,” Kho, who is also a cybersecurity consultant, said.
She also claimed most Sarawakians were wondering why Sabah was allocated RM5.1 billion to improve infrastructure, health and education facilities while Sarawak received less at RM4.5 billion under the federal Budget 2021, despite contributing more to the national coffer.
She said the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government allocated RM4 billion in 2019 and RM4.4 billion in 2020 for Sarawak, adding that the amounts are nothing to be proud of.
“I am glad Sarawak continues to be self-sustainable in our economic model and doesn’t depend entirely on federal funding for development,” she said.
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