KUCHING, Oct 31 — While urbanites in peninsular Malaysia hope for lower income tax and more efficient public transport, Sarawakians and Sabahans are asking that Budget 2019 provide them with better rural roads, treated water and electricity supply.
They also want better housing, repairs to dilapidated schools and the issuance of birth certificates and identity cards to communities residing in very remote areas.
The Dayaks and Kadazandusunmurut are also asking for opportunities to venture into business — to catch up with more advanced communities — and modern agriculture.
Sarawakians and Sabahans want restoration of rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution that have been eroded over the years.
Malay Mail interviewed nine Sarawakians and 12 Sabahans on what they wanted from the upcoming federal government Budget. This is what they had to say:
Henry Joseph Usau, 58, lawyer, Mukah
“All indigenous peoples born in Sarawak be given birth documents, identity cards and citizenship by operation of law as envisaged in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Inter-Governmental Committee Report. Processing of citizenship for Sarawakians should be done by Sarawak like before or prior to 1985.”
Dr Dusit Jaul, Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association president, Kuching
“I propose that the federal government close down outlets or factories manufacturing cheap liquor in Sarawak.”
Abun Sui Anyit, 45, lawyer, Baram
“The Finance Minister should allocate more funds for the construction of roads and clinics for the rural areas. I also want the federal government to solve the problems of the natives who are without birth certificate and MyKad.”
Peter Kallang, 68, SAVE Rivers Network chairman and retired electrical engineer, Baram
“I would like to ask the Finance Minister to give more allocation for the construction of roads connecting rural communities of Sarawak to the towns. There should also be allocation for reliable clean water supply to rural Sarawak, allocation for developing alternative livelihoods for the villagers in rural areas of Sarawak, and allocation for power supply system to the rural community to be connected to the state grid.”
Francis Teron, 46, lawyer, Bau
“I would like to see dilapidated schools upgraded and utility supplies, especially clean water in critical areas implemented and delivery of medical service.”
William Manggor, 28, self-employed, Kuching
Manggor wants the government to provide business grants to create more local brands, as well as tax rebates for overseas investors investing in Sarawak and for companies to hire Malaysians instead of foreign workers. Car manufacturing companies should be set up in East Malaysia too to boost employment.
“I would like Putrajaya to solve issues relating to cabotage policy on Sarawak and Sabah, lack of employment opportunities for graduate students, and reduce foreign workers in the country.”
Boniface Willie Tumek, 60, businessman/contractor, Bau
“Putrajaya should increase the number of Klinik Desa or rural clinics and have those clinics manned by doctors. I would like to see the government do soil mapping for all arable native customary rights land, make it available at all district agriculture offices, allocate sufficient funds to run training programmes for small-time rural farmers to cultivate crops most suitable for land in a particular area.”
Priscilla Sani, 23, private sector employee, Simunjan
“I would like to see the Finance Minister give more money for road construction in rural Sarawak, build more rural clinics and hospitals. Many rural roads are in deplorable conditions.
“I would like to see Putrajaya give various forms of subsidies to rural farmers, many of whom are poor. Fertiliser for pepper, for example, is quite costly.”
Datuk Bonipasius Bianis, Kadazandusunmurut Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) president, Kota Kinabalu
“We want funds to be allocated for the development of the Kota Kinabalu transportation infrastructure such as Rapid bus transit or light rail transit and railway tracks to Sepanggar Port and new KK Airport. We would like to see the federal government give special grants for the development of the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut entrepreneurship.”
Datuk Wong Khen Thau, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Kota Kinabalu
“We need the federal government to look seriously into the devolution of more powers to Sabah in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963.”
Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president and MP for Keningau, Kota Kinabalu
“Our wish is for 40 per cent of the nett revenue collected from Sabah, 10 per cent of export duties or royalties on petroleum, and 10 per cent import duties on petroleum be retained in the state. These are financial obligations of the federal government under Article 112D of the Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution that provides for the special grants to Sabah and Sarawak.
“I don’t expect much more in this Budget due to the financial constraints of the federal government, but I do wish for the abolition of the cabotage policy in the two Borneo states.”
Azeri Dollah, hotel managing director, Kota Belud
“For Sabahans, we want good roads to tourism spots. Our jetties need to be improved for the safety of domestic and foreign tourists. Our tourism spots also need to be upgraded with better facilities. Our tourism industry needs all these. We need to learn from others, who are already matured.”