Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s claim in his Malaysia Day address last week that the capital incomes of the people of Sarawak had increased by 50 fold in the last 50 years has been described by a Sarawak DAP leader as very “ridiculous”.

“I am challenging Taib to produce facts and figures to justify his claim,” said Chong Chieng Jen, Sarawak DAP Secretary.

“If Sarawak is neglected as claimed by the opposition, the state would not be able to achieve the progress that it experiences now where the capital incomes of the people have increased by 50 fold in the last 50 years after helping to form Malaysia,” Taib had said, adding that he wanted the BN to continue to form the next government after the 13th general election as it had been able to run the country well.

dapsy lodging report against utusan 161008 chong chieng jenReacting to the claim, Chong (right), who is the MP for Bandar Kuching, said: “I know the incomes of Sarawakians have only increased by four to five times.

“A fresh graduate engineer engaged by JKR in 1963 earned RM400 a month as compared with an engineer engaged by JKR nowadays who will be paid RM2,000 a month, which is an increase of five times.

“Generally the income levels of Sarawakians have increased by only five times. This is not what Taib has claimed, unless he is talking about his family members’ incomes which I believe is between 5,000 and 50,000 times,” he said.

“But then if his family members’ incomes increase by 50 times that is understatement by a long way. As we have read in the (Bruno Manser Fund) report he is the richest man in Malaysia. His salary may have been increased by 500 times more but his family members’ incomes may have increased by 5,000 times or even 50,000 times.

“All those who are above 65 years old will know that 50 years ago a Form Three school leaver earned about RM200 a month.  If you say the amount increases by 50 times, that means the Form Three school leaver by Taib’s claim would be receiving an income of RM10,000 a month.

“This is ridiculous,” said Chong, who is also the Kota Sentosa assemblyperson.

“This is why I am challenging him to justify his claims that Sarawakians’ incomes have increased 50 times over the past 50 years.”

‘House prices increased by 30 times’

The DAP leader said while incomes have increased by four to five times over the past 50 years, house prices have increased by at least 30 times.

azlan“I know of an intermediate terrace house at Kenyalang Park built by the Borneo Development Corporation (BDC) which was sold for RM8,000 in 1971.

“Today the same house fetches a market price of RM250,000. This is 30 times more than the original price.

“Car prices have also gone up. An Austin Mini in 1963 cost only RM2,000, but today the price of a Mini has shot up to RM150,000. This is 75 times more than the price in 1963,” Chong said, pointing out that houses and cars formed the largest part of a person’s monthly expenses.

“These are the main expenses. While the income levels of Sarawakians have only increased by four to five times, prices of houses and cars have increased by 30 times and 75 times respectively.

“The ultimate question is: are we richer or are we poorer? But if we compare the prices of houses and cars to our incomes, our real incomes have shrunk.

“I believe we are poorer than our fathers and grandfathers. This is the effect of BN’s politics of development,” Chong lamented.