Sabah Need More Allocation For Development – Darell Leiking

DARELL LEIKING

KUALA LUMPUR : The Deputy President of Parti Warisan Sabah, Datuk Darell Leiking today reiterated the need for the Federal Government to invest more in Sabah by giving more allocation to spur the much-needed industrial and development revolution in line with the State’s aspiration to become a developed state on par with Selangor, Johor and Penang.

He said that industrial and development revolution is the key to lift Sabah out from poverty and to provide immediate employment to the hundred thousands of locals who are now facing bleak future due to mismatched employment and reduced savings.

“Our biggest concern is definitely the ballooning debts amounting to hundred billions of ringgit created by the Federal Government for the 2021 and 2022 Budgets, 8 stimulus packages and RMK-12 which I believe will eventually find its way to the ordinary Sabahans on the street thru reconfigured tax regime, duties or compounds or worst, the abolishment of certain subsidies on essential goods as the Government moves to consolidate its fiscal policies.

We have no problem if the Federal Government raises the statutory ceiling debt to 65% of our GDP to fund the more than 1 trillion ringgit worth of budget allocations, stimulus packages or plan if these are to be spread evenly in Malaysia but it is grossly unfair if large chunks of the borrowing is intended merely for the benefit of the Peninsular’s economy while Sabah that had been contributing for the nation’s GDP thru her natural gas and petroleum and the strength of her youths who are now working in Selangor, Johor and Penang received less than satisfactory sum !

It is indeed a triple blow for Sabah, that I reckoned most Sabahans do not sees it : –

that our natural resources worth hundred billions of ringgit were being siphoned out NOT for the development our own State;
that we are losing thousands of hardworking Sabahan youths every year who, due to the scarcity of jobs in the State, are now building the economy of other states in Malaysia; and
that ordinary Sabahans and their children including those from the poorest districts of Tongod, Pitas, Kota Marudu, Beluran and Kudat will all eventually have to bear all the borrowings and debts created by the Federal Government in 2020 and 2021 especially if the Government decided to re-introduce the Goods and Sales Tax (GST) as part of its medium term fiscal strategy.

So how can we Sabahans take full advantage of the economic opportunities presented in the post-Covid 19 if no substantial allocation is being given by the Federal Government for the creation of new market and investment facilities in the State in line with Sabah’s potential to become an industrial player in the country?” he said in a statement today.

“I have stressed it during my Budget 2022 debate that the Federal Government must spend more in Sabah by building more medium and light industrial hubs all over the State especially in the rural areas, the same way Selangor and Johor did, as enticement for both the domestic and foreign investors to come and do the manufacturing and processing of our agriculture products here so that our youths will be assured of employments.

And during the 12th Malaysian Plan debate last month, I have also specifically mentioned it that we need to seize the opportunity presented thru the rising demand for Premium Halal products by turning Sabah into the Halal hub for the country in view of the perfect geographical location that we enjoy within the Asian market and the huge land mass for livestocks rearing such as goats, buffaloes and cattle but we need allocations to kick start this feat especially in terms of building modern, Halal-certified slaughterhouses and cheaper logistics to ship our products out.

The peace that ensued in the Southern Philippines and Indonesia’s plan to relocate its capital city to Kalimantan also necessitate us to anticipate future business demands from the two regional areas – Malaysia cannot possibly compete in terms of volumes with the Philippines or Indonesia but we can offer the much needed technology such as ‘cloud storage hub’ hence, the commissioning of ‘Cyberjaya 2.0’ in Labuan would complement the island’s existing status as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services in whereby the Government can also have its integrated facilities for Sabah’s and Sarawak’s weather forecasting, border and forestry monitoring thru satellite imaging and MERS999 on that island,” he explained it.

He also said that with the absence of a clear and fair policy by the Federal Government in relation to the distribution processes of the assistance and aids highlighted in the Budget 2022, Sabahans from the 25 Sabah Parliamentary seats should refrain from being over excited on receiving the same.

“There are two types of allocations provided for Sabah in the Budget 2022 – the first is the allocation given to the GRS-led State Government for the purpose of development and operating expenses and the secondly, the allocation given directly to the Sabahans.

I am not overly concerned with the immediate needs of the GRS-led State Government because firstly, it is due to their own weakness that caused Sabah to receive such paltry sum (of allocation) and secondly, in view of the mounting criticisms by Sabahans on Budget 2022, GRS can always impress the Prime Minister the need to table a supplemental budget at Parliament next year to cater for the additional allocations for Sabah.

I am more concerned with the immediate needs of the ordinary Sabahans especially our Sabahan SMIs/SMEs/micro-entrepreneurs players and students who are now in dire straits due to the pandemic and with the absence of a clear and fair policy for distribution of the assistance or aids among all the 222 Parliamentary seats in Malaysia, our Sabahan SMIs/SMEs/micro-entrepreneurs and students from the 25 Sabah Parliamentary seats would find themselves competing with millions of other individuals/establishments from the remaining 197 Parliamentary seats.

If nobody fight for our Sabahan SMIs/SMEs/micro-entrepreneurs and students shares, then I will not be surprised if the bulk of these assistance or aids will go to the Peninsular side, hence it is imperative that the GRS-led State Government and the Chief Minister muster every courage that they have to fight for the appropriate quotas for Sabah because this is the State Government’s obligation and responsibility.

Sabah’s experience of being neglected in relation to the country’s vaccine dose distribution early this year should have taught GRS a lesson of being assertive and firm so that Sabahans will receive what they rightfully entitled for!” he explained it.

He also said that the it is ridiculous for the Federal Government to allocate a meagre RM50 million for the repair works of Non-Muslims religious buildings in the whole of Malaysia compared to the RM43 million allocated by the WarisanPlus in 2019 for the benefits of the Non-Muslims in the State.

“I have mentioned it in my speech that religion, irrespective of whether it is Islam, Christian, Buddhist or Hinduism, is the pillar that hold a family or community structures in the country from collapsing during the pandemic because only thru faith in their own religion that Malaysians can find solace, and comfort especially during the times when political parties are jostling for power thru the many political maneuverings.

Hence, while the allocation of RM1.5 billion allocated to Jakim under the Budget 2022 is understandable as the Muslims make up the majority in the country, such amount should be equalized with allocation of at least RM1 billion to the Non-Muslim religious bodies who are now suffering in silence due to drastic drop of donations from their devotees due to Lockdown, Movement Control Order and SOPs.

In fact, it makes no sense at all and truly sickening for the Federal Government to allocate a meagre sum of RM50 million for the Non-Muslims in the whole of Malaysia in comparison to the allocation of RM43 million given to the Non-Muslims in Sabah under WarisanPlus in 2019,” he concluded.