By GM THOMAS
KOTA KINABALU: The Democratic Action Party has hit out at Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Junz Wong for allegedly misleading Sabahans on allocations by the federal government.
Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin claimed that the sum of RM2.89 billion quoted by Junz is the total amount DBKL’s budget for 2019 and that it was not true that this amount had been or will be allocated by the federal government as claimed.
“DBKL’s estimated revenue in 2018 is RM2.667 billion. Of this amount, up to RM1.105 billion (41.4%) was collected from assessment, while a big chunk also came from disposal of assets of RM632.8 million (23.7%), revenue from construction and planning control payments, amounting to RM350 million (13.1%),” said Chan.
“The remainder is revenue on investment of RM230 million (8.6%), a privatization project of RM67.5 million (2.5%), housing rental of RM61 million (2.3%), licenses and permits of RM49 million (1.9%), rental of property and parking lots of RM39.8 (1.6%), fines of RM27 million etc, while the allocation from federal government amounted to RM45 million.”
A day earlier, Junz said the federal government had shortchanged Sabah by making more funds available to DBKL.
Chan who is also secretary of DAP Sabah, described Junz’s remarks as irresponsible and a baseless attack on the federal government by comparing DBKL’s budget and DBKK’s budget.
He said the two cannot be compared to each other due to the difference of scope of duty and sheer difference in both size in population and income of the residents.
“DBKK can’t be expected to earn as much as DBKL, and there is no reason for DBKK to be spiteful towards DBKL just because DBKL is earning more by being able to tax their residents more,” said Chan.
“Is Junz suggesting that even revenue collected by DBKL (i.e. through assessment collection) ought to be shared with Sabah? I’m pretty sure no matter how we interpret MA63 in our favour, we Sabahans are not entitled to those revenues which are meant for local government purposes in Kuala Lumpur.”
Nevertheless, Chan noted that the federal government has indeed allocated a sum of RM45 million to DBKL in 2018, which if given to DBKK, would definitely help in developing Kota Kinabalu.
“I agree that Sabah local councils ought to be given a bigger funding from the federal government under the spirit of the MA63, but attacking DBKL for its larger budget is inappropriate, especially when it is self-funded.
“There are many ways that DBKK can learn from DBKL in terms of improving and increasing revenue collection, and that’s the way we should work towards,” he added.
Chan remarked that as a state minister he ought to know the principle of collective ministerial responsibility, and that if Junz wants more from the federal government, then he should to raise the matter for more allocation to Sabah local councils through his own party Warisan that has federal ministers sitting in the federal cabinet representing Sabah.
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