IPOH: The Perikatan Nasional-led Perak government made a milestone here when it reached a consensus with the state Pakatan Harapan on reforms that included formal recognition of the state opposition leader post with allowances and emolument.
All 59 state assemblymen will get equal allocation of RM200,000, while the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee will be appointed from the opposition.
“We also agreed that all state assemblymen will be invited to the district action committee, focus group and disaster management meetings, ” he said.
“With this, we hope all the state representatives can perform their tasks and responsibilities effectively, ” said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad when he tabled the state Budget 2021 in which a sum of RM11.8mil would be distributed to all 59 state assemblymen, with each constituency to get RM200,000.
Referring to the equal allocations for the assemblymen, he said this came about after Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah’s advice to find ways to ease the friction among politicians.
“The Sultan cares for his subjects. This is a guide for me and the administration to ensure that we are always fair and create harmony to fulfil the socio-economic needs of the people, ” he said.
At a press conference later, Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming said some essential items in the state Budget 2021 were achieved following discussions made between Saarani and Pakatan assemblymen.
He cited the recognition for the state opposition leader post, the opposition to head PAC, and that representatives from the opposition would be part of focus groups and disaster management committees, among others.
Allocations for non-Islamic and Islamic affairs, vernacular and religious schools were also maintained in the Budget, he added.
Nga said the agreement between Pakatan and Perikatan showed their political maturity.
Earlier at the state assembly, the Perak government tabled a RM154mil deficit Budget for next year.
Saarani said the projection involved a forecast revenue and development receipts of RM1.06bil and expenditure of about RM1.2bil.
He noted that this would be the highest deficit expenditure recorded in the state.
“The projected deficit is due to the bleak economy forecast in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said, adding that the state would mobilise every effort to address the matter.
Addressing the state assembly, Saarani said the projected revenue was from tax (RM598.7mil), non-tax revenue (RM248.4mil), non-receipt revenue (RM185.6mil) and development receipts (RM28.4mil).
“The allocation for expenditures included RM430mil for development and RM785.1mil for management, ” he said.
Saarani said the state would provide RM58.5mil for the agricultural sector next year, which was about 10% more than last year.
“Focus is given to the agriculture sector as it is important to ensure food security.
“It is widely known that Malaysia spent a lot on importing agro-food, with a net worth of RM51bil last year, ” he said.
He said Malaysia should take the chance to spur this sector in view of the abundance of fertile land that was suitable for large-scale food production.
Other allocations included RM48.8mil to look after the sustainability of the environment, RM18.6mil for youth development and sports, RM84.3mil (human capital development), RM83.9mil (social development and the people’s welfare) and RM25.9mil (recovery efforts and maximising the potential of the tourism industry).
He also announced that government servants would receive a one-month bonus to be paid out by the end of this month.