BARAM (Sarawak), June 2 – Rural folk would benefit from increased development allocations for their areas with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, here, Monday. He said with the implementation of GST, the government would be able to increase its revenue which could then be channelled for development purposes, especially in the rural areas. “When our revenue is increased, a big portion of it will be used to build rural roads, schools, hospitals and health clinics,” Najib said at a Gawai Dayak celebration in Long Silat, a Kenyah village, here.

He said the rural communities needed not worry about the propaganda of the opposition, out to instigate them to go against the implementation of GST. “I wish to give the assurance here that the people’s daily essentials will be exempted from GST,” he said. Najib said people in the rural areas like in the Baram district had all along showed their loyalty and sincerity in supporting the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and it was apt that their lot be cared for. He said due to their solid support, the BN government was able to carry out development programmes in this district and the residents had benefited from these efforts in stages.

“I am sure with the new developments taking place, we will be able to solve the problems faced by the people here,” he said. According to the prime minister, the federal government had allocated RM300 million to repair and upgrade the old logging tracks in Baram into roads that eased communication for people in the area, whereby RM64 million from the allocation had already been spent. “A sum of RM263 million will be spent until 2016 and if there is increased (government) revenue, I can add to the allocation in the near future,” he said. Meanwhile, Najib also approved an allocation of RM26.6 million to connect electricity supply from the mini hydro station in Long Banga, here, to the surrounding villages.

He said the mini hydro project which began three years ago, was already completed and could generate 330 kilowatts of power but so far, usage was only up to 27 per cent of the capacity. “I approve this allocation so that more villages around Long Banga can enjoy electricity supply,” he added. The prime minister received a colourful traditional welcome at the remote Kenyah community settlement where he also sat in a traditional boat that was pulled by the villagers. Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and several federal and state cabinet ministers were among 3,000 people present at the Gawai celebration.

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