KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government’s RM4 billion projected revenue for 2018 is nothing great as that level of income was achieved by the state in 1978, says Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Shafie Apdal.
The state government last month presented its Budget 2018 with an allocation of RM4.104 billion.
The allocation is higher than last year’s RM3.784 billion and promises a surplus for the fourth time.
However, Shafie Sunday said he was not impressed by the seemingly high level of income for the Borneo state.
“(Former Sabah accountant-general) Ibrahim Menudin told me that Sabah’s revenue when Berjaya was the main ruling party in 1978 was also RM4 billion,” he said.
“This means Sabah’s revenue has been stagnant for more than 30 years. What gives?
“Where did all the money go? It’s impossible that there’s been no development in the state all this while.
“I’m not impressed, and the people should be unimpressed too.”
Shafie was speaking during a ceremony to receive 500 new party members, said to have been former members of Kapayan MCA.
The former Umno vice-president said Sabah can perform much better than promised by the government if it is managed properly.
“We can be much better, like Singapore. If Warisan forms the next government, we’ll build a port in Kudat with proximity to Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and China.
“We used to have great oil and gas and shipyard industries in Labuan, but now the port there is dead because the federal government prefers to enrich the ports in Klang and Johor.
“Because of the cabotage policy, goods must transit in the peninsula on the way to Sabah,” said Shafie, who until July 2015 was also the federal rural and regional development minister.
He attributed these problems to the Umno-led Barisan Nasional state government being too involved in business.
“If Warisan wins the state elections, we’ll reduce the government’s role in business,” he said.
“There are just too many government-linked companies around. We should give this role more to the private sector.”
Shafie pledged that a Warisan government would create new policies for the state’s development and help more Sabah youths become entrepreneurs.
“A special committee to grant development projects will be formed. Currently, the matter is solely the domain of the chief minister.
“The special committee must make its decision in one month at most, instead of six months or a year,” he said.
“We’ll also allocate a RM100 million fund to help rural youths become entrepreneurs.”
Shafie urged Sabahans to have the correct mindset if they wanted a new government in the state. – Zam Yusa
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