SONG, July 28 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed that the state government was not afraid to settle its loans with the federal government.
He said that the state government was willing to settle the debts provided it was allocated to repair dilapidated schools in the state for the future of the children of Sarawak.
“Politics aside, we have to build schools in the rural areas even though we have to pay in advance the loan using our money but it must be used for Sarawak. Don’t send it to Kelantan, don’t send to Melaka, Pahang. Must be for Sarawak,” he said.
He said this when launching the 11A Zone of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Zon 11A for the Pelagus, Katibas, Bukit Goram and Baleh State Assembly Constituencies at Rumah Robert Ngumbang, Nanga Sebatu, Batang Rajang near here today.
The event was attended by about 6,000 GPS members from the four areas and also the Machan and Ngemah state seats.
Abang Johari said that the issue of repayment of debt and allocation to repair dilapidated schools had also been agreed upon between the state and the federal governments.
Recently, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the federal government would speed up the process of procurement and expenditure of up to RM350 million for the first phase of a project to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak as soon as the state government made a RM350 million repayment to the debt.
According to Lim, the Sarawak government still owed the federal government RM2.352 billion as of June 30 this year.
He said that the federal government had in principle agreed to accept a part of the repayment on the Sarawak government of RM1 billion to be allocated for the repair of dilapidated school, which was subjected to the stipulated legal mechanism.
He said that the Sarawak government must pay back up to RM1 billion of its debt to the federal government into the Federal Government Consolidated Fund.
During the ceremony, Abang Johari also stressed that Sarawak would not compromise in the implementation of petroleum sales tax of 5 per cent which was expected to bring in RM3.897 billion this year.
He said that this was important in the effort of the state government to transform Sarawak into the most developed state in Malaysia by 2030.
“We have the capability to implement the transformation but it needs time. Give us (the GPS) another five years to transform Sarawak,” he added. — Bernama