Tiong: State govt should review increase of special grant to Sarawak, existing seat allocations

Tiong King Sing

KUCHING, Feb 15: The State government has been urged to consider reviewing an increase of the Special Grant to Sarawak, said Dudong assemblyman Dato Sri Tiong King Sing.

He said according to Article 121D of the Federal Constitution, the State government should consider reviewing an increase of the Special Grant to Sarawak under Part IV and the increase of oil royalties from five per cent to 10 per cent as provided under Part V of the 10th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

He said this during his debate on the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2022 during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP, said the additional revenue is vital to developing Sarawak’s infrastructure.

Meanwhile, he also said that it is time for another review of the existing seat allocations, given Sarawak’s growing population and rapid development, to ensure that elected representatives can continue to take care of the welfare of the people.

“From a geographic aspect, Sarawak must not be restricted in its authority or autonomy powers affecting citizenship, education, healthcare, and security under the Federal List, and its rights must be given to the State.”

The State Cabinet also needs to be enlarged to undertake and discharge these responsibilities effectively to benefit the people, he opined.

He said that in 1963, the Sarawak State Assembly was expanded from 24 seats to 36 seats to allow State assembly members to serve their constituents properly and act as an effective bridge between the government and the people.

“Sarawak had gradually increased the number of constituencies within it since 1968, with an initial expansion to 48 seats. This was further expanded to 56 seats in 1985, 62 seats in 1995, 71 seats in 2005, and finally to 82 seats in the most recent delineation in 2015.”

“Sarawak is a unique State as one constituency could be the size of other states. Therefore, with greater autonomy, we should also make the most effective adjustments according to the interests of the people.”

He added that Sarawak must also strive to implement these proposals towards decentralisation of autonomy powers by passing the appropriate resolutions in this august House or by amending the related portions of the State Constitution.

“These efforts must be done with the objective of ‘Sarawak First’ for the benefit of the people of Sarawak. Therefore, matters involving the interests and rights of the people of Sarawak must be prioritised.

“Besides the economy and education, fields that the young generation are interested in, including sports, must also benefit Sarawak. So too must issues involving household income, employment opportunities, and infrastructure development.

“We can no longer look towards the past but forge a new future aggressively for the good and progress of our beloved Sarawak.” — DayakDaily