Sarawak CM criticises Budget 2016 over state allocation

 By Yu Ji

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pic) has criticised Budget 2016 over its small allocation for the state.

Presenting the Sarawak Budget here on Monday, Adenan took an unexpected swipe at the Federal Government: “The 2016 allocation under the National Budget to Sarawak is not sufficient. Tidak cukup.”

He spoke about the development disparity between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, and gaps within the state’s own urban-rural areas.

“The state is in real need of a Federal helping hand in granting more allocation to enable us to catch up. Sarawak should not be left behind,” he said.

His comments were followed by a round of table-thumping from the assembly. This lead Adenan to quip: “I don’t know why you applauded ‘tidak cukup’, you could have applauded if it was ‘cukup’. We are dropping a broad hint to the Federal Government.”

Adenan listed just three projects the Federal Government would fund in Sarawak next year, aside from the Pan Borneo Highway: RM142mil for the Samalaju Industrial Park, RM42mil for the Mukah Airport, and RM30mil to fund a native land perimeter survey.

The Chief Minister, who is also the state Finance Minister, tabled a RM5.97bil state Budget for next year.

“A total of 74% of it is proposed for development and 26% for operating expenditure. The Federal Budget is almost the opposite,” Adenan told the House.

On Sarawak’s economic performance this year and outlook for next year, he said growth was and would remain at 4%, attributing the “softening” growth to lower commodity prices.

Adenan also said the state’s income from oil and gas royalties would be halved, with the “collapsing” of global fuel prices. – The Star Online

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