KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah remains non-committal on Budget 2021 until they have studied it in detail, says president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said there was no reason not to support the budget if it was appropriate and took into consideration the welfare of the people and the interest of the nation in line with Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree.
Apart from funding for development projects, a special allocation should be given towards revitalising the economy and ensuring the people’s health and safety, he said in an interview with Astro Awani.
Mohd Shafie said he would also support any measure to reduce the salaries of MPs and ministers if it could help "reduce the burden".
“We need to look thoroughly at whether the needs of certain places are suitable with the assistance (to be) rolled out, it’s micromanaging but it is a serious matter.
“In Sabah, for one, the health and medical system are still far behind — not only insufficient in the number of doctors but also hospital facilities are not enough.
“I talked to medical frontliners in Sabah’s east coast a few days ago, where community halls in islands are being converted to quarantine centres.
“There is not enough space to accommodate if we want to transport these patients in the islands to mainland hospitals, so if we can build such a facility near them, it will ease their burden.
"That is the kind of budget that is ‘prihatin’ (caring) to the people, ” he said.
Mohd Shafie also said that not allowing a state of emergency was a wise decision as it would have paralysed the economy.
“We need to see what measures can be done, not only to curb the virus but overcome economic issues — because even if we can fight Covid-19, the economic impact is expected to be around longer.
“That is why we need to look at what type of cooperative framework involving everyone that we can come up with to ensure our country’s economy can be strengthened in the midst of Covid-19, ” he said.
Mohd Shafie added that it was important to outline and spell out the kind of cooperation that could involve all political entities.
“We need to know the national budget content, for example for Covid-19 mitigation. What types of allocation, how is the medical (fund) side, what type of assistance for the people.
“Secondly, how we can overcome national economic issues, where many companies have gone under and three-quarter of our (national) revenues annually comes from tax, ” he said.
Mohd Shafie said the government should not only rely on politicians' views but also those of business councils and chambers.
On a question whether dissolving the Sabah state assembly was the best decision in hindsight, seeing how Covid-19 had spiked across Sabah, Mohd Shafie said elections took place in other countries around the world.
“The legal framework has been around for ages, we have to follow the legal steps. We cannot say it is wise or not, ” he said.
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