SUPP Youth: Budget 2019 ignores Sarawak as equal partner in Malaysia

Michael Tiang

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KUCHING, Nov 2: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth claims that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government was shortchanging Sarawak in the 2019 Budget tabling.

Its Youth Chief Michael Tiang said Putrajaya failed to realise that Sarawak, together with Sabah were equal partners in Malaysia. As such, it had offered an insignificant contribution to Sarawak in the budget announcement earlier.

“It is very obvious from the two-hour Budget 2019 speech given by Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, the status of Sarawak is definitely not recognized as one of the equal partners to the Federation of Malaysia.

“In fact, we have been downgraded again with no efforts being made by the PH government to banish inequality between the two Borneo states and the Peninsula,” he said in a statement.

Tiang pointed out that with Sarawak’s annual contribution to the national coffers of about RM80 billion of crude oil (at the rate of USD70 per barrel), the state was being allocated a meager amount of RM4 billion development fund in PH’s Budget 2019.

The PH government has not been paying Sarawak its due from the national revenues, said Tiang.

“Does that mean only oil and gas from Sarawak are valuable to the PH government, but not the Sarawak people?” he questioned.

Tiang said PH in its Buku Harapan promised that it will ensure the connecting highway to be built in Sarawak and Sabah by allocating up to 30 per cent of the budget allocation for each year to be devoted to Sabah and Sarawak.

“There is definitely no such signs of 30 per cent allocated funds being set aside for Sabah and Sarawak as promised. In fact the Pakatan Harapan made a big U-turn on Sarawakians in their Budget 2019,” he pointed out.

While devising a new departure levy for travelers leaving Malaysia next year, Tiang said the PH government had devised nothing to open up the skies for Sarawak to have more international flight connections so as to boost tourism and foreign investments in this region.

He said the restriction in flight connectivity was one of the inequalities that Sarawak had been suffering for decades after being part of the federation.

“Sarawakians should therefore question the integrity of this new federal government in its present approach of the national budget which I call a blatant breach of the spirit of our Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by the federal government.

“Through the Budget 2019 the PH government has downgraded Sarawak’s position as an equal partner in Malaysia to a mere state that entitles to no special attention and no special grants.

“In fact, PH’s maiden budget constitutes more like a political punishment on Sarawak for being an opposition state,” Tiang opined.

He reminded the PH government that this would be the more reason for more Sarawakians to talk about Sarawak exiting from the Federation of Malaysia when the federal government had not only forgotten its role as a steward to the equal partners in the federation but also to continue to deny Sarawak’s entitlement to its share of national revenues as an equal partner.

Milton Foo

Meanwhile the party’s Youth secretary Milton Foo echoed his Youth chief statement, saying that the 2019 Budget announcement was a mockery to Sarawak.

“Only RM4 billion is allocated by the federal government for developing Sarawak. Not to forget Sarawak contributes approximately RM250 million every day (850,000 barrels of oil extracted per day from Sarawak territory) equivalent to 100 brand new Rolls Royce Phantom priced at RM2.2 million per unit delivered to them everyday.

“Imagine how much is the gross revenue generated in a year for Petronas which is a Government Linked Company (GLC) of the federal government (RM250 million x 365 days)? In return we only get RM4 billion as development funds for 2019. What a mockery!” said Foo. — DayakDaily