Awang Tengah: Unjustifiable for Sarawak to be given only 5 pct of total national budget allocation

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 1: Sarawakians have seen enough of politicking in Peninsular Malaysia, and now is the time for reconciliation and healing to allow Malaysia to move on, says International Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Apart from that, in his ministerial winding up speech at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN), Awang Tengah expressed hope that the new national unity government will be more sympathetic and fairer to Sarawak and return our rights as enshrined under the Federal Constitutions, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Inter-governmental Report (IGC Report).

“The new national unity government must also provide Sarawak with more funds to close the development gaps between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. Otherwise, we will never be able to catch up and be on par with West Malaysia if the Federal government continues to allocate only about five per cent of the national development budget to Sarawak.

“This is grossly unjustifiable. It is the expectation and the right of the people of Sarawak, as citizens of Malaysia to be provided with sufficient fund by the Federal government so that we can enjoy better standard of living. This is our rights which cannot be denied,” said Awang Tengah who is Bukit Sari assemblyman (GPS-PBB).

He said after 59 years of the formation of Malaysia, Sarawakians should not be seeing any more dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

“We should no longer have poor schools, bad roads, insufficient water and electricity supply, uncomfortable rural clinics and hospitals and many more that we should enjoy just like in Peninsular Malaysia.

“We want greater allocations not only for infrastructure development such as better and more efficient roads, bridges, airports and ports but also for the development of other basic facilities such as water supply, electricity and a more modern telecommunications system.

“We also want greater allocations to develop education, health and safety infrastructure. This is an important thing for us to solve.”

At the same time, Awang Tengah demanded greater allocations for the development of industrial estates, business premises and enhance socio-economic development programs and poverty alleviation programs.

“Don’t be like the previous PH (Pakatan Harapan) government, where some projects were approved, but were cancelled.

“In addition, many promises were also made but not fulfilled such as 50 per cent tax collected from Sarawak to be returned to Sarawak and 20 per cent of oil royalty to be given to Sarawak.

“All these were not implemented. I hope that this new government will learn a lesson from the previous PH government,” said Awang Tengah.

Awang Tengah who is also Deputy Premier said through the Special Council Meeting on MA63, the Sarawak Government has accomplished several achievements.

However, there are still matters and claims that have yet to be resolved. These include revision of special grants under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution; return of land in Sarawak reserved for federal purposes; recognition of the Public Works Department of Sarawak, the Rural Water Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department of Sarawak as technical departments under Treasury Directive 182; administration of the Judiciary in Sabah and Sarawak; appointment of a Sarawakian to sit in the Inland Revenue Board (IRB); Borneionization of public service and 35 per cent of Sarawak and Sabah MP representation in the Parliament. — DayakDaily