By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Oct 28: The 2019 budgetary allocation for the whole country will be less due to problems caused by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, but Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen believed Sarawak and Sabah would still get a bigger slice of it when compared to previous federal budgets.
“Under BN rule, Sarawak and Sabah were each allocated only 10 to 13 per cent of the development expenditure annually — jointly less than 25 per cent of the total development budget.
“PH Sarawak will strive to ensure that Budget 2019, which will be tabled in Parliament on Nov 2, will include the 30 per cent development expenditure for Sarawak and Sabah. This is as promised in our 14th General Election manifesto,” he told a press conference here today.
Chong opined that the 2019 budgetary allocation would shrink due to corruption, cronyism and wasteful spending under the BN administration.
“Therefore, it is mischievous and ill-intent of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to allege that Sarawak has been deprived of funding after the change of federal government,” he said.
Chong stressed that GPS, which was previously state BN, must acknowledge the fact that they were an accomplice to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s mischief in hiding the true financial predicaments of the country.
“The (now defunct) Sarawak BN, who all are now in GPS, had six ministers in Najib’s administration, and all of them bowed their heads to and condone Najib’s act when he was the prime minister,” Chong alleged.
On the proposed 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent tax revenue collected in Sarawak that was proposed by PH previously, Chong said the original proposal was endorsed by the federal PH and that the additional revenue was to be used to finance education and healthcare in the state, with full autonomy given to the Sarawak government.
When the state government rejected PH’s original proposal, Chong said the federal government set up a 16-member Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee. The Committee, which includes the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, aimed to discuss further the revenue-sharing formula and matters pertaining to the devolution of powers.
Chong said until the MA63 Steering Committee came up with a new proposal on the revenue-sharing formula, Sarawak would still continue to get its five per cent oil and gas royalty and, in addition, a bigger proportion of the development budget, compared to what BN had allocated to the state in the past 55 years. — DayakDaily