MIRI (Jan 21): Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak Secretary Alan Ling is confident that Sabah and Sarawak will receive more benefits from the Unity Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
According to Ling, the move by the federal government to increase the amount of Special Grant under Article 112D shows that Anwar is committed in fulfilling and restoring the rights of both states.
“I welcome this move and I hope we will receive more benefits like this,” he said when met yesterday.
The federal government has agreed to increase the amount of special grants to Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
Anwar was quoted as saying, the special formula for the annual grant has not yet been finalized and as a start the Ministry of Finance will increase the amount to RM300 million for Sarawak and RM260 million for Sabah.
According to Ling, the increase of the grant amount is the first and initial step taken by the federal government to restore the rights of the two states as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He added that, in addition to announcing the matter in Putrajaya, Anwar also came to Kuching to give assurances by chairing the MA63 Implementation Action Council Meeting and subsequently announced the special grant.
Ling said all these happened in less than two months since Anwar became the Prime Minister on Nov 24 last year.
“The federal government is serious about this, to enable Sabah and Sarawak receive more, as stated in MA63,” he said.
Anwar had also fulfilled a request of the state government by appointing a representative from Sarawak in the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
Apart from that, the Federal Department in Sarawak has also been given a three-year period to confirm plans to develop public projects such as schools, hospitals and clinics on state government land. The site should be returned to the state government if the project is not developed.
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the coming of the Year of Rabbit, Ling urged the all parties in the Unity Government to work together and be more flexible, liberal and coordinate well for the benefit of the people.
“All these are good signs in the Year of the Rabbit and I feel optimistic that under the leadership of the PM and the cooperation of all parties in the Unity Government, Sarawak and Sabah will get more good things,”he said.