Consider using the Barnett Formula to help develop Sarawak, Putrajaya urged

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

KUCHING, March 15: Malaysia could adopt the Barnett Formula, which is being used by the United Kingdom (UK) to provide funding to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to help develop Sarawak.

In making the suggestion, Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) chairman Datuk John Lau Pang Heng said the UK had been using this formula very successfully.

Lau explained that the Barnett Formula is a mechanism used by the Treasury in the UK to automatically adjust the amount of public expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales, or Great Britain, as appropriate.

“The federal government could adopt a similar formula to allocate more funds to Sarawak and Sabah as and when the federal government has excess funding or change in expenditure patterns,” he said in a statement today.

Lau proposed that any excess funds by the federal government shall be equally divided between the three partners in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, meaning Peninsular Malaysia gets 1/3, Sarawak 1/3 and Sabah 1/3.

“This is equal partnership and brotherhood. The federal government’s intention to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution is very commendable but with the allocation of funds based on Sarawak’s needs, more Sarawakians will be happier,” he remarked.

Lau argued that the federal government must allocate more funds to Sarawak based on needs and to bring development in the state to be at par with those in the peninsula.

The state needed money, for instance, to develop the Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE) and also for the development of renewable energies affordable to all households across the state, he pointed out.

“Sarawak also needs funds for development of a proper road system and structure to enable easy land transport by all of us,” he highlighted.

To help Sarawak to be at par with other states in the peninsula, he proposed that the federal government also return to Sarawak 50 per cent of the tax collected in Sarawak for development purposes.

“Promise 40 of Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s GE14 manifesto has highlighted the need for Sarawak to revenue from natural resources such as oil and gas and a share of funds that rightfully belongs to Sarawak,” he said. — DayakDaily