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State to reimburse 26 local councils
Posted on : 12 May 2020  Source of News: New Sarawak Tribute

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will reimburse 26 local authorities for the loss of revenues for the 2016 to 2019 period.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said he was grateful to note that in  the passing of the Supplementary Supply (2020) Bill, 2020, the state had granted a fund to the local authorities to compensate for the loss of revenues due to a reduction in assessment rates for residential properties from 2016.

“Since the reduction in the assessment rates as announced by Tok Nan (late Pehin Seri Adenan Satem), house owners have been paying less and some have zero rate but the services provided by the councils such as grass cutting, cleaning of drains, and availability of street lights continue.

“Therefore, with this reimbursement, all services can still be continued and maintained. Indeed, this fund is timely,” he said when met by reporters at the DUN complex yesterday.

Dr Sim said as the state was combating Covid-19, the hygiene of residential areas had to be taken care, too, or else other diseases such as dengue would arise.

“Don’t forget we need the money to control rabies outbreak as well,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate that one Sarawakian had died of rabies this year.

Dr Sim added that he was also grateful to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for using the state’s contingency fund to assist the people particularly by giving cash assistance to the hawkers and petty traders including the Covid-19 frontliners.

“Basically, this comes from last year’s budget but because of Covid-19, we cannot carry development projects and the money is used to immediately help Sarawakians affected during the movement control period (MCO),” he explained.

He believed that the cash assistance could at least lessen the financial burden of those affected.

“This pandemic affects everyone regardless of whether you are rich, powerful or poor. Of course, different people face different kinds of issue; some face food shortages while some people’s mental wellbeing is affected,” he said.

Dr Sim hoped Sarawakians would continue to cooperate and work together with the state government in the war against Covid-19. Meanwhile, Second Finance Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, when tabling the Supplementary Supply (2020) Bill 2020 yesterday, said the RM129,838,475 state grant to 26 local authorities for the period of 2016 to 2019 was to compensate for the loss of revenues as a result of the reduction in assessment rates for residential properties which took effect from 2016.