Bornean MPs urged to support motion to increase devt expenditure by RM3 bln for Sabah, Sarawak

Chong (centre) flanked by Chan on his right and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii on his left addressing a press conference at Parliament.

KUCHING, Nov 24: Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen and Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin are calling on all MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to support the motion to be tabled in Parliament by Chong seeking a RM3 billion increment in the Development Expenditure (DE) allocation for Sabah and Sarawak.

Chong, who is also the Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman, had today officially written to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, giving notice of his intention to table a motion under Parliament’s Standing Order 30 to amend the motion tabled by the Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz on Budget 2021.

Chong’s Amendment Motion seeks to amend the Ministry of Finance (MOF)’s Budget Motion for DE with the proposal to increase the RM69 billion DE to RM72 billion.

The motion also proposed creating in the Anggaran Perbelanjaan Persekutuan (Federal Expenditure Estimates) a new item of DE under the Prime Minister’s Department of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs as “98000 – Development Projects in Sabah and Sarawak” and that the additional RM3 billion be allocated to the said item.

Chong’s motion will be seconded by Chan who is also the Sabah DAP secretary.

In a joint statement today, the two lawmakers pointed out the total development budget in Budget 2020 last year was RM56 billion and out of this, around 46 per cent or RM25.9 billion was interstate spending which was allocated to federal government agencies nationwide such as the army, police and hospitals.

“The balance of RM30.1 billion are state-specific development allocations which can be broken down to states.

“Sabah and Sarawak’s state-specific development allocations in Budget 2020 totaled up to RM9.6 billion which is in fact 31 per cent of RM30.1 billion.”

As for Budget 2021, they viewed that the state-specific development allocation for Sabah and Sarawak should retain the ratio of approximately 30 per cent.

Even though the total DE for Budget 2021 has been increased substantially to RM69 billion from Budget 2020’s RM56 billion, they however pointed out that the DE allocation for Sabah and Sarawak remained stagnant at RM9.6 billion.

“Percentage wise, clearly there is a dilution of Sabah and Sarawak’s DE allocation in Budget 2021. The proportion of DE specific for Sabah and Sarawak out of the total DE has dropped from 17.14 per cent in Budget 2020 to 13.91 per cent in Budget 2021.

“To remedy this shortfall, we would like to propose that an additional RM3 billion of DE be allocated to Sabah and Sarawak.”

Chong and Chan thus urged MPs from Sabah and Sarawak not to be shackled down by the federal government of the day.

“Without this Amendment Motion, the Minister for Sabah and Sarawak Affair under the Prime Minister’s Department will only be a lame duck ministry with zero DE allocation.

“It is thus pertinent that this important portfolio in Cabinet must be allocated sufficient DE allocation,” they emphasised. — DayakDaily