Chong: Pakatan kept its promise, Sabah and Sarawak received 31.9% of devt budget

Chong Chieng Jen

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KUCHING, Oct 16: Both Sarawak and Sabah are actually getting a combined 31.9 per cent from the state-specific Development Expenditure (DE) of Budget 2020, explained Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

He said under Budget 2020, RM30.1 billion of the RM56 billion provided under the DE are state-specific, while the remaining RM25.9 billion is for general application across the country.

“Out of this RM30.1 billion DE, Sarawak and Sabah are allocated a total RM9.6 billion, thus bringing it to 31.9 per cent, with Sarawak getting 14.95 per cent and Sabah getting 16.94 per cent.

“This is in line with Pakatan’s manifesto, which promised to allocate 30 per cent of the DE to Sabah and Sarawak,” said the Stampin MP in a statement today.

He added: “In fact, this method of calculation for state-specific allocation of DE has been used since Barisan Nasional (BN)’s time. It is nothing new.

“During BN’s time, even adopting the same method of calculation, Sabah and Sarawak got much less than what the two states now get from Pakatan.”

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, reiterated that the state-specific means the allocation can be identified as spent specifically in a state or another.

The remaining RM25.9 billion was not confined to a specific state but for general application across the country.

Chong said examples of such DE of general application across the country are many. This included allocations for the Defence Ministry, where RM746 million is allocated for army equipment, RM383 million for air force equipment and RM945 million for navy equipment.

Others included Economic Affairs Ministry (RM300 million); Entrepreneur Development Ministry (RM201 million); Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (RM76 million) and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (RM124 million).

“There are many of such allocations in the DE in other ministries, which cannot be identified or confined to a state, while their effects and impacts are spread across the nation as a whole. The total of such allocation in the DE is estimated at RM25.9 billion,” he explained.

As such, he rebutted allegation by MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) that the calculation of Sarawak’s portion of DE is merely RM4.4 billion out of the whole RM56 billion.

“Saying that Sarawak only gets 8 per cent of the DE was made based on twisted facts and ‘malafide’ (with bad intent),” he said.

Chong pointed out that if compared with all the past budgets tabled by the previous BN government, Budget 2020 contains the largest proportion of the DE for Sarawak.

“However, GPS leaders and elected representatives have no moral ground to criticise because when they were in power, they approved the past budgets, which gave Sarawak much less.

“The Pakatan government will always prioritise development for Sarawak, which has been neglected by the Barisan all these years. We thus, urge GPS not to distort facts and sabotage the federal government’s projects in Sarawak,” he said.

Chong asserted that Pakatan would continue to accord Sarawak and Sabah with the rightful treatment as one of the three partners in the federation, an example of which is the continuation of the general subsidy instead of the targeted subsidy for Sarawak and Sabah. — DayakDaily