With “bountiful harvest” from SST, the state should allocate to help reduce costs of business and living

While Abang Jo is celebrating the multi-billions “bountiful harvest” from State Sales Tax on petroleum products, all the more he should be helping the people to tackle inflation and the ever-rising costs of living suffered by the people of Sarawak.

In the last few weeks, we have read in the news that the GPS Government has billions of revenue, but ironically, Sarawak still records one of the highest increase in poverty rates in the country. The situation is made worse with the current high inflation rates which has impacted most those in the low-middle income group.

The State government, with the billions in revenue, the highest revenue earning state in the country, is in the best position to help the people tackle the inflation issue, especially the high costs of food production. Yet, it seems that the GPS Government is unmoved by the suffering of the people resulting from the high costs of living.

To tackle the high cost of production, the GPS Government should do the followings:

  1. To set up a Food Pricing Stabilisation Fund to help stabilise the prices of animal feed and fertilizers which are the key cost components of all food production; and
  2. To allocate a fund to subsidise the costs of transport.

These two are the main contributory factors to our high inflation rate. If the government can quickly allocate fund to help the industry concerned, this will definitely help to reduce the inflation rate. As the present inflation is mainly a supply-push inflation, the key to tackle it is to reduce the costs of production. Cash hand-outs to the public may be helpful to cushion the impact for the people in short term, but it also runs the danger of fuelling and exacerbating the inflation rate if the supply-push factors are not addressed effectively.

Therefore, while I congratulate the State Government for the bountiful harvest” in revenue, I also urge the State Government to allocate the fund to help curb inflation and ease the sufferings of the people and the business sector. Without effectively bringing the prices of food and costs of living down, the billions of revenues touted by the GPS Government has no meaning to the common people on the street.

Chong Chieng Jen
Media statement by Chong Chieng Jen in Kuching on Monday, 27th June 2022