SUPP blasts Chong over claim Penang is economically better than Sarawak


KUCHING: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) has blasted Democratic Action Party (DAP) state chairman Chong Chieng Jen over his claim that Penang is an economically-better governed state compared to Sarawak in terms of the median and average monthly household income.

In a joint press statement yesterday, SUPP Youth publicity secretary Milton Foo and its public complaints bureau chief Wilfred Yap opined that Chong’s claim is not only misleading, but highlights his lack of understanding of Sarawak.

While acceding that Chong was correct that Penang’s median and average monthly household income was higher than Sarawak in 2016, Foo and Yap said Chong failed to mention that Penang’s household income was already higher than Sarawak’s even before the DAP took over the government.

The statement also mentioned that unlike Penang, whose population is densely packed, Sarawak is 119 times larger and has a wide-spread population, thus reducing the economies of scale to deliver uniform growth throughout the state.

“A better way to know if DAP had managed Penang well would be to compare it with similar industrialised states in Peninsular Malaysia such as Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Johor,” added the statement.

In 2009, the average household income in Penang was RM4,407 compared to RM5,488 in Kuala Lumpur, RM3,835 (Melaka) and RM4,184 (Johor).

After years of below-par governance by the DAP, Penang’s average household income reached RM6,771 in 2016, but was still far behind Kuala Lumpur (RM11,692) and Selangor (RM9,463).
“Worse is that Penang had been overtaken by both Melaka (RM6,849) and Johor (RM6,928).”

Penang’s monthly household income, the statement pointed out, was actually above the national average in 2009, but that the DAP had, by 2016, ‘successfully turned Penang to a below-average state where its mean household income is actually below the national average of RM6,958’.

Foo and Yap went on to say that since 2011, Sarawak has beaten Penang in terms of manufacturing investments for five consecutive years, from 2012 to 2016.

Both pointed out that with the Pan Borneo Highway currently under rapid construction, as well the state BN government’s effort in transforming Sarawak through digital economy, Sarawak’s economic growth rate will overtake Penang’s for many years to come.

“Whilst Penang has a higher average and median household income than Sarawak, at 25 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, the average expenses for a Penang household based on the 2016 household expenditure is 34 per cent higher than Sarawak, thus negating the advantage of Penang’s higher income.

“This is unsurprising as due to the BN Sarawak government’s efforts, the monthly expenses for the typical household in Sarawak are much lower than Penang.”

Foo and Yap went on to assert that Sarawak’s electricity, water and housing costs are lower, in addition to the state having zero tolls.

“Unlike the DAP Penang government, the BN Sarawak government manages the state’s finances circumspectly and prudently.

“While the yearly state operating costs and expenses have barely doubled since 2008, the Penang government’s yearly expenses have increased to 500 per cent since 2008.”

They also opined that this is why Sarawak registered a budget surplus of RM2.4 billion compared to Penang’s RM103.4mil in 2015, and that the state’s reserves are now RM29.44 billion compared to just RM1.56 billion for Penang without Sarawak needing to sell or trade away tens of billions of state land and assets like the DAP government did in Penang.

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