KUCHING (August 5): Under the state of emergency, the state budget must be transparent as there is no way to debate it in the state legislature (DUN), said Ba Kelalan MP Baru Bian.
He stressed that at this critical time when all attention and resources are focused on the fight against Covid-19, the budget should be geared towards protecting people’s lives and livelihoods, emphasizing the need better health facilities and services, as well as programs and policies to rebuild the economy once the pandemic is under control.
Baru said the need for transparency, accountability and competence is crucial at this time, being so close to the elections.
“As broad powers are vested in the Chief Minister and the State Financial Authority to approve the 2022 budget, the Chief Minister needs to be even more aware of the need for transparency and accountability in the process of approving the 2022 budget. preparation of the budget.
“Transparency is necessary as there is no way for members of the state assembly to review and question the budget.
“The Acting Chief Minister will decide how the people’s money will be spent, and care must be taken that public funds are not politicized and that allocations are not made for the purpose of advancing the political agenda of the ruling party, ”he said in a statement today.
He was responding to the statement by DUN President Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar that the 2022 budget does not need to be debated and approved in the DUN in accordance with the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) ( Sarawak) 2021.
Sarawak Party Presidential Council member Bersatu (PSB) said the majority of Sarawakans agreed with the need to postpone elections in Sarawak, and the only way to achieve this was to declare a state of emergency. in Sarawak, and with it, it was necessary to promulgate the Emergency Ordinance to ensure the continued functioning of government and government agencies.
He said that since there was no opportunity to debate the budget, it would also be a magnanimous gesture if Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg could invite opposition representatives to make suggestions. and recommendations on issues that should be considered for inclusion in the budget.
Baru noted that in this difficult situation that people are facing, it would cost the chief minister nothing to listen to the views of all sides.
He said that at the end of the day, it is still Abang Johari’s prerogative to decide how best to spend public funds.
“If he decided to give a voice to the representatives of the opposition, I am sure it would be viewed positively by all Sarawakans.
“The Acting Chief Minister and the State Financial Authority should exercise this power given to them by the Agong with the utmost caution and wisdom,” he added.