Oil price recovery will strengthen Sarawak’s position

Johnathan Chai

KUCHING: The recovery of oil price is expected to further strengthen Sarawak’s financial position, opines Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok.

He pointed out that oil prices rose for a third week to a near three-year high last Friday (Sept 24) as global output disruptions forced energy companies to pull large amounts of crude out of inventories.

“This is good news to us as we reclaim our rights to the resource gradually and hopefully, the spike in oil price would last for a good long run.”

He commended the recognition given to the state government in managing the wealth of the state.

“The Sarawak government or the state government-linked companies (GLCs) could leverage on the good rating to obtain financing at a more competitive cost when necessary.

“It is particularly meaningful for Sarawak to achieve a better outlook on rating from negative to stable as assessed by Moody’s Investors Service, especially when almost all economies around the world are experiencing negative growth in the midst of the pandemic.”

Chai noted that this development would allow the state government to implement more beneficial projects to uplift the standard of living of Sarawakians.

“With more income generated from the state’s resources, we can improve the accessibility in rural areas by building more roads and also Internet connectivity by putting up more telco towers.

“We have learned from our past experiences that sometimes we need to take our own initiative to look after the wellbeing of our people with our own budget first even if the matters are under the federal purview, for example, the repair and reconstruction of the dilapidated schools.

“Through the outbreak of the pandemic this time round, we could really appreciate how important it is to have a strong fiscal position in order for our state government to come up with various aid measures and packages worth billions of ringgit to help our people to tide over the challenging time.”

He hoped that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg would look into the proposal of setting up a sovereign wealth fund.

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