By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Oct 26: Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is disappointed with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for stating that Putrajaya would only come up with revenue sharing with Sarawak and Sabah in at least a year later, using Malaysia’s financial problems as an excuse.
Abdul Karim said Lim’s ambiguous statement was a “flip-flop” from what he said before being appointed a minister. Previously, he had pledged to go all out to defend the rights of the two Borneon states.
“Everybody knows Sabah and Sarawak are the cash cows for the Malaysian economy. If I’m not mistaken, more than half of Malaysia’s reserve comes from Sabah and Sarawak. That’s why Malaysia has got to look after Sabah and Sarawak for being the provider for Malaysia’s economy.
“Don’t say comments like that lah. It’s ambiguous. ‘Kalau nak seribu daya, kalau tak nak seribu dalih’ (When there’s a will, there’s a way). You come up with all kinds of excuses – one year, then two years, then only will look into Sarawak.
“If they (Putrajaya) want to do it, they can do it now. They can always make the provision now, because they know how much money coming from Sabah and Sarawak. Don’t keep on repeating that the federal government is having financial problems because of the old government, where they have to recoup first then they will consider helping Sabah and Sarawak.
“That is their problem in Malaya,” Abdul Karim told a press conference during a site visit to the new Sarawak Museum Campus here earlier today.
He was commenting on Lim’s answer in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Oct 24), where he said Putrajaya would need at least a year before it could come up with a revenue-sharing formula for Sarawak and Sabah.
Lim said the formula and implementation might take at least a year and only after that Putrajaya would need to see the country’s financial situation and its ability to spend.
“The fiscal position is very challenging. We are facing constraints due to scandals inherited from the past administration. If we are to implement the formula, the financial position must permit.
“If there were no scandals, this would not be a big issue. But like it or not, we have to face reality, based on facts and figures. We cannot run away,” he said in response to a question by Wong Chen (PH-Subang).
Wong had asked whether the government would propose the revenue sharing formula for Sabah and Sarawak, and the time frame to do so. — DayakDaily