Masing: Spend RM31 billion reserves on projects before state polls

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing says the money must be used to develop the state. (Facebook pic)

KUCHING: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing wants the RM31 billion in the state’s reserves to be spent on development projects before the next general election due by 2021.

He said this was because he feared the money would be used by the new government if it was not spent before the Sarawak election and if Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lost power.

“When they (the new government) use the money for development, they will look good in the eyes of Sarawakians but the fact is that the money does not belong to them. We worked hard to earn that money which is being kept in the reserves. We must use the money now to develop Sarawak,” The Borneo Post quoted him as saying.

He added that using the money to develop Sarawak would help win over Sarawakians, leaving the opposition without any issues to use against the GPS government.

He said carrying out projects to benefit the people would also help ensure that GPS stayed in power.

“This is the time we show Sarawakians that we do care about Sarawak’s future and we want to serve Sarawakians in the best possible way we can,” he was quoted as saying.

Speaking at a dinner event on Sunday, Masing said the money could be put to good use on infrastructure projects, especially in building rural and coastal roads.

“There is a lot of infrastructure which needs to be built in the state, especially along the state’s 900km stretch of coastal road which goes from Sematan to Miri. The road needs at least five bridges to be built along it,” he said.

He said a road could be built to connect Kota Samarahan and Roban and onward to Sibu. Another road, he suggested, could be built to connect Sebuyau and Betong.

The money could also be used to improve electricity coverage and water supply, apart from upgrading other infrastructures for the people of Sarawak, The Borneo Post quoted Masing as saying.