KUCHING, Oct 11 — Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) parliamentary chief whip Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof described the federal Budget 2020 tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Parliament this afternoon as nice to hear, but it fails to fulfil the promises listed in the Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto made to the people of Sarawak.
He said based on the development allocation, Sarawak only received RM4.4 billion compared to RM5.2 billion for Sabah.
“The total RM9.6 billion for the two states represents 17.1 per cent of the total development expenditure in the Budget allocation,” he said.
Fadillah, who is also the Petrajaya Member of Parliament, said in the election manifesto for the 14th general election last year, Pakatan pledged to allocate 30 per cent of the development expenditure for the two Borneo states.
“At the same time, why is Sarawak receiving less than Sabah, despite its size almost as big as Peninsular Malaysia?” he asked.
“What is the rationale for giving less allocation to Sarawak and more to Sabah?” he asked.
“If that is the way of the Pakatan gives the allocation for Sarawak and Sabah, the aspiration to reduce the development gap between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, will not be achieved, especially on infrastructure development,” he said.
He said this is because the Pakatan federal government itself is unable to fulfil whatever it has promised in the election manifesto to the people of Sarawak.
Fadillah said the GPS state government also wants to hear the details on fixing dilapidated schools as Sarawak has made an advance payment of RM350 million out of RM1 billion of its federal loans as a contra.
“Unfortunately, the details were not being spelled out in the Budget,” he said, adding that the GPS government wants the redevelopment of dilapidated schools or building of completely new schools to be expedited in the interest of the students and teachers and to enable the students’ performances to be improved.
Fadillah also said that the Budget did not even mention of a promise by Pakatan to return 50 per cent of the tax revenue collected in Sarawak to the state government upon taking over the federal government from Barisan Nasional last year.
“Generally, we see that the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as not being respected when the minister of finance touched on the review of the special financial grants to Sarawak and Sabah as enshrined under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Fadillah, however, said the state government welcomes the move to review the special grants and asked whether the matter has been discussed, scrutinised and approved at the technical committee on the review of MA63.
He said there is a big difference where Sabah is to receive RM106.8 million compared to RM64 million to be received by Sarawak.
“That is why we say the spirit of MA63 is not being fulfilled and respected by the minister of finance,” he said.