PENAMPANG : A Penampang-based community movement, Ikatan Komuniti Penampang (Ikatan Penampang) had today suggested that a special sitting be held at the Sabah state assembly before the tabling of the 2023 Budget next month, to allow its members to come out with resolution on the proper amount of federal government’s allocation that should be given to Sabah.
The movement believe that such resolution will allow Sabah to present a stronger case and representation in the Dewan Rakyat that will benefit Sabahans especially those in the rural areas who have been making pleas in the social medias for better bridges, roads, drainage and in some cases, assistance to rebuild their houses destroyed by flooding.
“Ikatan took note of the Sabahans’ frustration when it is said that only RM5 billion had been allocated to Sabah under Budget 2022 and several Sabah’s Parliamentarians from the ruling government have even openly registered their annoyance on the matter.
“Hence, we believe that Sabah should seize the national political uncertainty to her benefit by firstly allowing all state sssembly members or their officers to discuss with the district officers and local authorities regarding urgent development fund needed in their respective constituencies and thereafter, to present their case to the Sabah state assembly during the emergency sitting.
“Sabah’s 24 Parliamentarians will then deliberate the resolution achieved from that assembly sitting at the Dewan Rakyat and this in essence will release them from any political obligation towards their party or from making publicity stunts and instead be guided properly with what the Sabahans really wanted,” said Liyana Marzuki who is an associate member of the movement.
Liyana who was a former Deputy Public Persecutor and also a legal activist said that such resolution is necessary to prevent Sabah from being exploited for political purposes for the benefit of West Malaysia voters more so when the 15th General Election is around the corner.
“The Minister of Economic Affairs, Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohammed had reportedly said at Dewan Rakyat in July this year that Petronas is set to contribute RM59 billion dividend this year to the federal government with the corporation’s profit after tax for 2022 is projected to be around RM75 billion to RM80 billion.
“If this is so, then would it be wrong if Sabahans request for at least 20% of the said dividend to enable the state government to immediately proceed with its programs to mitigate flooding, poverty and inflation that are getting worst in Sabah?
“In the case of Penampang, the 2 problems that require immediate actions are traffic congestion and constant flooding due to unregulated past development. There are also proposals to build a flyover at the Sigah roundabout, dredging and deepening of Moyog River, upgrading of old drains and finding solutions on flooding at Kampung Sugud but all these require funding from the federal government. And how about other districts in Sabah especially those declared as the poorest ones?
Liyana pointed out Ikatan’s concern that the upcoming 15th general election may see the possibility of unequal distribution of federal funds, that actually was derived from taxes and other sources including the said dividend, to appease and benefit the West Malaysian voters at the expense of Sabahans who are in desperate need of rapid development and economic rejuvenation.
“This is the reason why we propose this suggestion in the first place,” she clarified.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Ikatan Penampang, Kenneth Jayaraman said there is a need to educate and inform the younger generations especially in West Malaysia on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and all its preceding documents such as the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and Cobbold Commission.
“This will give them knowledge on how the Federation of Malaysia came to be and why there exists special privileges and rights held by Sabah and Sarawak.
“The ignorance towards MA63 on the part of the West Malaysian populace is understandable since the agreement itself was never written in our school’s history books.
According to Kenneth, this had caused many Malaysians, including Sabahans and Sarawakians themselves, to be unaware of the strict conditions agreed to during the formation of the Federation of Malaysia hence the reason why some newbie Parliamentarians from Peninsular are now questioning the special immigration power granted to Sabah and Sarawak.
“There is also no attempt by the ruling coalition to integrate MA63 into the Federal Government. Talks on Malaysia Agreement are deemed by many as mere political polemics where it should only be discussed among the cabinet ministries or chief secretaries.
“Should these individuals are no longer in service, then the whole talk about MA63 will start from the very beginning again,” Kenneth asserted.
Kenneth who is also Warisan Penampang Division committee member and political aide to the party’s Deputy President, Datuk Darell Leiking said he will be proposing to Warisan’s top leadership on the agenda of promoting MA63 in West Malaysia through the assistance of party’s divisions in the peninsula.
“There are 300,000 Sabahans
scattered across West Malaysia and we also have many Warisan divisions being established in these areas so we should take this opportunity to work together.
“These divisions can seek assistance and support from Sabahans and also Sarawakians diasporas in the peninsula to promote MA63 there.
“Ikatan Penampang will be working together with other MA63 NGOs and activists in the state to promote MA63 in West Malaysia through Warisan’s divisions in the peninsula.
“The immediate objective will be to make MA63 a national agenda that will be understood, integrated and implemented by all Federal Ministries, Departments, Agencies and GLCs.
“If the Federal Government can come out with New Economic Plan (NEP) or even the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat, then why can’t we come out with our Agenda Nasional MA63 Plan?,” he concluded.