by: Hiew King Cheu
Thank you for giving the opportunity for me to put forward a few important points on the State Budget 2015.
First of all I wish to congratulate the Chief Minister for tabling a budget that is aiming to further enhance the Sabah state economy, and at the same time not forgetting the continuation of the development in Sabah. This budget is a good budget, and it reflects a carefully tailored amount of expenditure against the income of the state. At the same time this does not neglect to emphasis on the well-being of the people. It is not an easy job for the government, but with the strong determination and will-power of the Sabah state government, we should see a positive result. Sabahan must also work hand in hand to achieve this goal.
I thank the state government in making generous allocations to the Chinese schools in Sabah this year, especially for the Shan Tao schools because they need more building funds to complete the construction of the classroom blocks. The required amount is still short and I hope the government will continue to give them the support next year. There is a good Chinese saying "No matter how poor we are, we should not neglect education"!
I support the move to set aside some money to help the flood prompt area in Sabah especially in Minitod, Penampang. The work to clear the river and digging new drains should be given top priority, and should start immediately. Don't wait for the allocation for 2015, the DID should locate funds to commence work right away. A concentrated effort must be put in to ensure that the people are not affected further. JKR will have to build up the road level in Minitod to avoid the road being cut off by flood water. The people living in Minitod is deeply affected by the frequent flood, it will be the government to help them.
Affordable housing is in high demand due to the ever increasing housing price due to fierce speculation in the housing market. The low and general income group can no longer afford to purchase a house, and therefore I urge the government to expedite on the speedy construction of these affordable houses. The government should impose some measures to control the escalating housing prices in the urban and sub-urban area. The ratio of applicants and affordable house is something like 400 to 1 or more. By producing large quantity of affordable houses will effectively lower the demand, and lower the prices. I hope the government will look into this situation to allow younger generation to own a house.
The oil and gas industry is vital to the social and economic development in Sabah, it is not only the government is involvement, but the people in Sabah should also be given a chance to participate in all its development projects. Our Sabahan contractors are capable in both skill and financial to handle the oil and gas construction. The government must deal in a positive and committed manner to allow us to share the cake. As an engineer myself, I have full confident in our Sabahan contractor who are qualified and capable to handle big oil and gas construction work. Besides that, the government should assist our SME people to participate in the down stream of the oil and gas industries. The federal government is encouraging this by giving out fund assistance to the small medium entrepreneurs to expand their business. Our Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman has made known that there is a 10% equity in LPG 9 in Bintulu, Sarawak is agreed by Petronas to us, and for this I must congratulate CM for his effort.
I totally agree with the aspiration and pledge of the Sabah government on the theme "Focusing on sustainable development for the people's well-being". It is important for the people and for the benefit of our future generations. It is also true that "the development is about transforming the lives of people, not just transforming economics". We must have a balanced budget to achieve that. To do that, we must start with strong state revenue, and I propose to the state government to study the possibility to explore into using our rich underground resources and deposits, like minerals because there is high potential to bring in big revenue for Sabah.
The infrastructure and public utilities are needed urgent attention, because these are directly affecting the people. The most common daily complaints I received in my constituency are mainly on these. The sewerage problems in KK should be given priority to resolve to make our storm drain foul sewerage water free. We all know until today a high percentage of foul water still ended up in the storm drain and sea in Luyang and KK. For the health of the people, I urge the authorities will take quick action.
I propose to turn the KK City especially Luyang area to become a City of Tabebuia Pellida, the "Sabah Sakura" which has been planted in many parts of Sabah. This tree bears pink, white, and red flowers and it is very beautiful when it flowers. If KK and Luyang is planted with 2 thousand Tabebuia trees, the city will have a new name as Sukura city. This will be good for tourism too. Along with this, I propose to change all the children playground equipment in Luyang to the modern equipment for the safety of use by the children. The children is stopped to play with the old fashion play equipment like the swing and the sea-saw due to the old are dangerous and worn out. For this, I apply to the Chief Minister and our finance minister to allocate a sum of 1million ringgit for this purpose in this budget.
The Cabotage policy issue is being handled by the Federal Transport Ministry, we just have to be patient to allow them to find the best solution. The high port charges in Sabah and the expensive freight handling charges have contributed to higher goods prices. This is something for the state government to look into, and a solution must be reached on lowering these charges. There are other factors contributing to the cost of goods that needed to be addressed. Sabah Port Authority must also improve its facilities to increase the efficiency in handling cargos. We cannot afford to see our cargos stuck in the port for days due to equipment break down.
To make Sabah to be a South East Asia sea cargo hub and as a cargo transit port, is a good suggestion. I fully support the idea because this can really chart Sabah on the international shipping route whereby many foreign ships will use our port as their transit port to cut down traveling distance and save cost. We should look at this proposal seriously.
There are many people using the internet service now in Kota Kinabalu and in Sabah, we really need some fast internet service. The lines are packed and jammed most of the time, the telephone companies should put in an effort to upgrade their service and to ensure we paid to get a good service. In Luyang, many people had complained about the slow internet service. We hope to see some strong internet service soon.
On the security aspects, the police department is putting more efforts to ensure our safety. In Luyang, we are in need of a second police pondok to cover the area under Taman Jindo, Taman Dixon and the surrounding housing estates. The people feel that they will be protected more closely and feeling comfortable. Whenever there is trouble, the police will be quick to reach.
I hope the landslides along the Luyang Jalan Shantung can be repaired as soon as possible for the residents to continue to use the important access road. The house owners at the bottom of the hill slopes are very worry that their sleepless nights will continue. JKR have to expedite on the repair work, and of course some quick allocation of fund is needed for the repair work.
The public transport in Kota Kinabalu City can be improved with the introduction of more buses. Some new bus routes have to be set up for the companies who can run the bus services efficiently. The bus commuters have to get use to go by bus to reach their destinations. To do that we might need to spend time to educate, to encourage and to convince the people to use the bus service. It is estimated that 15% of the cars will off the road in KK, if the buses are enough in the city. May be the government can provide a small incentive for the bus company to start operation.
With these, I end my debate speech now, and I apply to support the 2015 budget. Thank You!