Saturday, October 24

Unequal treatment for Sabah – Jeffrey




KUALA LUMPUR: Budget 2020 continued the unequal partnership treatment of Sabah and Sarawak practiced by the previous Government and did not reflect the Shared Prosperity Vision announced by the present Government, said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

“Giving credit where it is due, I wish to thank the Government for giving attention to some of our problems in Sabah with some specific allocations. The development allocations of RM5.2 billion for Sabah and another RM4.4 billion for Sarawak is welcomed” said Keningau member of parliament when asked to comment on Budget 2020 tabled last Friday by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

However, the total RM9.6 billion represents only 17.1 percent of the Development Budget of RM56 billion.

This means that 82.9% or RM46.4 billion is still allocated for Malaya. “Where is the change and fairness for Sabah and Sarawak?

“Where is the concept of ‘equal partnership’ between Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya that formed Malaysia as equal partners? Where is the ‘Shared Prosperity Vision’?

Jeffrey said to be fair and real shared prosperity, it is not unreasonable for Sabah and Sarawak to be allotted 80 percent of the development budget of RM56.0 billion.

“Only then, will Sabah and Sarawak be able to share the prosperity and allow them to catch up on the backward development in Sabah and Sarawak which is at least 30 years behind Malaya.  Without giving weighted allocations for Sabah and Sarawak  they will not be able to catch up with Malaya.

“What is ‘Shared Prosperity’ when it is meaningless with economic, financial, security and the politics of Sabah and Sarawak are still in the hands of Malaya/Kuala Lumpur?”

Perhaps, the Minister of Finance needs to be reminded that in two videos that went viral before PRU-14, he clearly stated in one video that Sabah and Sarawak were equal partners in Malaysia and without Sabah and Sarawak there would be no Malaysia.

In the other video, Jeffrey said Lim and the DAP chiefs of Sabah and Sarawak promised to give Sabah and Sarawak 20 percent oil royalties and 50 percent of all the revenues collected from Sabah and Sarawak.

“Where are they in Budget 2020? With unfair allocations in Budget 2020 and the huge gap in development, progress and prosperity between Malaya and the Borneo States, Sabah and Sarawak will continue to be dependent on the Federal government.

“Sabah and Sarawak will continue to lag far behind Malaya without the capability and insufficient financial resources because the Federal government does not comply with MA63 and the Federal Constitution,” he said.

Jeffrey said the revenues derived from Sabah of which 40 percent were to be returned by the Federal government had not been complied with for the last 45 years.

“To make matters worse, the oil and gas resources of Sabah and Sarawak were all vested in Petronas with only 5 percent returned as and when they are extracted. Who is receiving the 95 percent oil and gas revenues?

While it is acknowledged that the PH government is giving RM53.4 million in lieu of the Special Grant under Article 112C and Part IV of the 10th Schedule in the Federal Constitution which was not complied with for the last 45 years by the previous government.

But this payment does not comply with the requirements of the Constitution which embodies what was agreed in the IGC, MA63 and by the forefathers of Sabah in agreeing to form Malaysia in 1963.

If it was stated in 1963 that Sabah would not get its 40%, the forefathers would not have agreed to form Malaysia.  They are probably turning in their graves with the announcement of Budget 2020?

“If the 40% is returned to Sabah based on the total revenues derived from Sabah, which is between RM37 and RM60 billion, the Federal government should be returning RM15 to RM24 billion for 2020 not RM53.4 million which is only 0.22% of what is due and payable to Sabah.

“The government should at least pay RM799.30 million in Budget 2020 based on the decision of the 1st Financial Review of the 40% in 1969,” Jeffrey contended.

He said during the 1969 Review, it was agreed that RM20 million would be the base amount payable in 1969 with an annual 7.5 percent increment resulting in RM26.7 million payable in 1973.

There were no further reviews for 46 years since 1973, he added.

“If based on the 7.5 percent annual increment from 1974, the amount payable for 2020 should be RM799.30 million.  Based on this annual increment, there is an arrears of RM9.845.71 billion due to Sabah from 1974 to 2019 after deducing the RM26.7 million paid from 1974 until 2019.

“With this unequal treatment and refusal to comply with the Federal Constitution, where is the Rule of Law?  If this continues, there is no longer any reason for Sabah and Sarawak to remain in Malaysia and be subject to subjugation, mistreatment and continued poverty and misery.

“I hope the Government realizes this and review Budget 2020 to reverse the damage and provide the constitutional entitlements to Sabah and Sarawak” concluded Jeffrey.