Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sarawak Budget 2013 good overall, says Soon Koh

GOOD BUDGET: Wong talking to the press after the tabling of Budget 2013.
KUCHING: The state’s allocation of 69 per cent of Budget 2013 for development expenditure and the remaining 31 per cent for operating expenditure reflected the government’s intention to better distribute resources for development of the rural areas.
Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh opined that the development biased budget would also be good for the education sector.
“We have been trying our best to manage our finances in the most efficient, prudent, and responsible manner,” he said when approached by reporters for comments on Budget 2013 which was tabled by Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday.

SENIOR CABINET MINISTERS: (From left) Senior Ministers Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang arrive at the State Legislative Assembly to attend the Budget 2013 tabling by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

ROCKET TEAM: The assemblymen and assemblywomen from state Democratic Action Party (DAP) in a photo call after the state Budget 2013 tabling by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

TIME FOR A LAUGH: Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom (right) having a light moment with Democratic Action Party (DAP) elected representatives (from left) Fong Pau Teck (Pujut), David Wong Kee Woan (Pelawan) and its state chairman Wong Ho Leng (Bukit Assek).

IN WAITING MODE: Media personnel covering the state Budget 2013 tabling mingle at the lobby of the State Legislative Assembly. They are waiting to interview the assemblymen and assemblywomen.

FIRST DAY SITTING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (right) followed by Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) Pelagus assemblyman George Lagong (left) arriving at the DUN yesterday.

EARLY BIRDS: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Samariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali arriving for the DUN sitting.
Wong, who is also Minister of Local Government and Community Development, said this was also the 10th consecutive year that the state’s credit rating position is maintained at A3 by Moody’s and A- by Standard and Poor’s.
“No other state in the country is subjected to this international rating. With such high rating, there will be a great deal of confidence in the part of foreign investors to come to the state,” he said, adding that the budget was a good one overall.
Asked whether the recent setback involving Sanmina-SCI Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd would affect the state’s foreign direct investment (FDI) attractiveness, Wong said the incident was a different case altogether when compared to what’s happening at the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
He explained that the volume of foreign demand and supply facing high tech industries were different to the heavy and downstream industries operating in SCORE.
Sanmina-SCI, a global electronic contract manufacturer, recently retrenched more than 800 employees here in its effort to reduce cost by moving its operation to a new facility at Wuxi, China.
Taib, in tabling the budget, said private investment activities were expected to remain at 5.9 per cent this year, driven by the government’s strategies to lead the private sector spearhead business activities deemed beneficial to the state.
“Undeniably, growth in investments is due to the government’s ability to provide a favourable investment environment.
“This is done through conscious efforts to put in place essential infrastructure facilities, improve public sector delivery system, and continuing with its on-going initiatives to attract foreign and local investments, particularly to SCORE,” said Taib, who is also Finance Minister and Minister of Resource Planning and Environment.
He added that the strong growth in private investments in the first half of this year could be seen in several key investment indicators. These included the importation of capital and intermediate goods that grew by 10.3 per cent and 19.4 per cent respectively during this period.
The anticipated progress of SCORE and implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme would further boost investor confidence.
“Hence, private investments are expected to expand by 10.4 per cent in 2013.”

by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith Posted on November 20, 2012, Tuesday

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