Federal Works Minister Baru Bian today took a swipe at the state leaders and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) assemblypersons.
"It is heartening to know that after 55 years, the leaders in the State government have finally realised and acknowledged the real situation of Sarawak and Sarawakians.
"It is not too late to admit that we are left far behind. However, the irony of this situation is that the GPS politicians conveniently overlook the fact that this is the legacy created by their own former best friends – Umno/BN, of which GPS had been a part of for 55 years," said Baru in his debate speech on the Sarawak Budget 2019 at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting in Kuching today.
Baru, who is state assemblyperson for Ba'kelalan and MP for Selangau, pointed out to the members of the August house that schools in Sarawak did not become dilapidated overnight, nor did the roads linking the town with rural villages in the State suddenly become inadequate since Pakatan Harapan won the elections, but they had been neglected over the past 55 years.
"If only the GPS leaders had woken up earlier and had been wise and bold enough to speak up to their Umno/BN masters, Sarawak would perhaps not be in such dire straits," Baru said.
He commented that in the chief minister’s budget speech and in the comments by other GPS leaders after the federal budget was tabled, a common theme was the lamentation that Sarawak has not been given enough allocations by the Harapan federal government.
"These commentators do not want to concede that the new government is only six months old and have had to grapple with crippling debts incurred by the man, hailed by the same GPS leaders only a year ago as the ‘best ever’ Prime Minister, for Sarawak," he said.
He said the Finance Minister had said in his budget speech that the real figure of Malaysia's national debt is 1.065 trillion, which is RM350 billion more than what the previous government admitted to.
He added that the government had to repay income tax refunds of RM37 billion that were never repaid by the previous government.
"As a partner that accepted this shocking grand-theft by the BN government, the now renamed GPS should not be so ready to shoot their newfound bullets at the new government that is cleaning up the humiliating mess that has featured in major news networks around the world," said Baru.
On the five percent sales tax on all petroleum products, Baru said he welcomed the move as long as it is done in a proper manner, but it is a case of better late than never.