Opposition pans GPS’ “salary cut” stunt

By Chew Lip Song

PARTI Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh has described as “political stunt” Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) directive for its state Cabinet and lawmakers to contribute their two months’ salaries to the Covid-19 state disaster fund.

Wong said the contribution amounted to only RM3 million, although the Sarawak government had set aside hundreds of million of ringgit through the Minor Rural Project (MRP) and Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) funds for GPS lawmakers only.

“So the RM3 million or so is just a drop in the ocean. How much can it help? In time of crisis like this, there is a need for real action to help the people.”

“Government intervention should be the cornerstone of Covid-19 responses as people will look to the government to utilize its resources to help the people and with economic recovery,” he was quoted as saying in The Borneo Post.

Wong, who is Bawang Assan assemblyman, said it was pertinent for the government to come up with measures to help businesses stay afloat and that the economy will bounce back after the pandemic is over.

“The state government should play a more responsible and overall role to help the people and not a small salary cut for lawmakers and ministers which can do little to overcome the suffering of the people” said the former second finance minister.

Meanwhile, state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen also echoed Wong’s view that GPS was resorting to “political gimmicks”.

The Kota Sentosa assemblyman said GPS assemblymen were entitled to RM5 million yearly allocation and an additional RM200,000 special allocation for giving food aid last year – something the opposition lawmakers were denied of.

He added that over the past year, DAP representatives had donated more than 10 per cent of their salaries and allowances to help the needy.

“In that respect, for the next 3 months, all DAP ADUNs and MPs will set aside 20% of our salaries into our service centre’s accounts for specific aids for those in needs.

“This is on top of our monthly committed expenses to maintain our Service Centres’ staff and expenses which are financed mainly from our salaries and allowances, unlike those from the GPS who enjoyed special government
funding,” Chong added in a statement.

Yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said he and his Cabinet ministers have unanimously agreed to donate two months’ salaries to the Sarawak Disaster Fund.

The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state assemblymen and political secretaries will also contribute their allowances for two months.

The total contribution is expected to amount to RM 3 million.

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