SARAWAK must make it clear that the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway should be fully funded by the Federal Government, says an opposition lawmaker.
Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) said the Federal Government had not yet finalised how the highway would be financed, whether by allocations or toll collection.
He said this based on a reply given to him in Parliament by Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof recently.
“If it is to be financed by toll, it will not be allocations from the Federal Government but we Sarawakians who will be paying for the highway. So I call on the state government to urge that the construction of the highway be financed solely by the Federal Government,” he said when debating the budget.
Chong also raised concerns over the government’s plans to recruit 12,000 Bangladeshis to work in various sectors in Sarawak, particularly plantations and construction.
He said the cheap labour provided by foreign workers would only benefit the plantation companies and would have an adverse impact on the state’s target to become a high-income society by 2030.
“I urge the state government not to allow cheap foreign labour to come in and compete with local workers. If plantation companies say they cannot afford to pay higher salaries to locals, then the state government should step in and increase the salary levels so that locals will be willing to work in plantations.
“The minimum wage for Sarawak is RM800 and it is time that the government increase it,” he said.