By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 4: Sarawak needs to know the total revenue collected nationally and locally to come to an agreement with the Federal government on the formula which will be used to calculate the amount allocated in the special annual grant to be given to the State.
According to Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, there are still two issues which Sarawak has yet to settle with the Federal government.
First of all, it is the issue concerning the review of the special annual grant stated in Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
Article 112C of the Federal Constitution stipulates that the Federation of Malaysia shall make a special annual grant to the States of Sarawak and Sabah and the two Borneo States shall receive all proceeds from the taxes, fees and dues collected, levied or raised within the States.
Article 112D on the other hand deals with reviews of special grants to States of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Sabah has received theirs (special grant). For Sarawak, we want a formula — how you decide on the figure that is given us,” said Abang Johari at the installation of Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak cum Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian held at a local hotel here yesterday.
The other issue, he said was the appointment of a Sarawakian representative in the Inland Revenue Board.
“Under the IGC (Inter-governmental Committee Report), Sarawak and Sabah must have their representatives in the Inland Revenue Board.
“Only when we are there, then you know how much is the revenue nationwide; only when we are there, then you know how much Sarawak contributes to the national revenue.
“Then we want a certain formula (based on) percentage of revenue collected in Sarawak, to be given back to Sarawak,” said Abang Johari who added that the formula must be a reasonable one.
He expressed confidence that the Federal government will concede to the request of Sarawak.
“That is why we must have very strong voice in Parliament. So make sure you put all Sarawak MPs in Parliament so that we can rationalise with them (the Federal government),” said Abang Johari.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari also explained the reason for the change of the title of the chief executive of Sarawak from chief ministership to premiership is because the title reflects Sarawak’s position within the Federation of Malaysia.
He said Federation of Malaysia was formed by the Region of Sarawak, the Region of Sabah and the Region of Peninsular Malaysia. Without Sarawak and Sabah, there is no Malaysia.
“We are a region, how can they (the Federal government) equate us with the chief ministers of Melaka and Penang? That was why I changed (the title of chief minister) to ‘premier’. Making it (the title) a bit higher.
“Chief minister of Sarawak, chief minister of Melaka, chief minister of Penang – as if we are (only) as big as Melaka,” said Abang Johari.
Also dignitaries present were Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, China’s Consul General in Kuching Xing Weiping and Federation of Chinese Association Malaysia Tan Sri Koh Thian Chuan. — DayakDaily