Bandar Kuching MP calls for transparency over special grants under Article 112D for Sabah, Sarawak

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, March 7: The federal government should reveal transparently the formula that was agreed with the Sabah and Sarawak governments to derive the current quantum when it comes to the special grants for both regions under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen said while he welcomed the recent grant increase to RM300 million by the current unity government led by Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim which shows the latter’s sincerity towards addressing the inequality of development between the Borneo regions, he said what is more important is a clear and set formula to ensure the increase in the special grants will be clear and sustainable, not merely at the whim and fancy of any government.

“The quantum of the special grants under Article 112D before this was never revised since 1969 by the previous governments even when it was clearly stated in the Constitution that every 5 years there will be a revision.

“However, it was then revised and doubled by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in 2019 with a view of further increments in the coming years,” he said in a statement today.

However, Dr Yii who is Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY) chief pointed out that after the fall of the PH government due to the Sheraton Move, the special grants reverted to the original figures in 1969 and were not increased until this year.

He stressed this is why it is important that a clear and transparent formula is in place to ensure the figures and amount that is given does not fluctuate based merely on political considerations, but rather is based on a proper equitable structure and formula to ensure it is sustainable.

“For Sabah, it is rather clear with ’40 per cent of federal collection in Sabah to be returned’ stated in the constitution, but for Sarawak, it is not explicitly stated in the constitution.

“That is why I hope that the government would take the extra necessary step to be transparent about the formula especially for Sarawak as this involves significant public interest and the need for us to be treated equitably under the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“This of course includes the required move to appoint Sarawakian and Sabahan representatives to sit on the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to get a clearer picture of the overall taxes collected from the two regions in order to determine a fairer formula of distribution,” he added. — DayakDaily