Equal partner should have equal development allocation

Abang Johari is flanked by Wan Junaidi (left) and Hanifah during the courtesy call.

KUCHING: Firstly, the federal government must recognise Sarawak as an equal partner; secondly make sure the recognition is concrete and meaningful by giving the Land of the Hornbill a fairer and more substantial development budget befitting that “equal” status.

These issues were raised once again today (Oct 15), and it was by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during a press conference after he hosted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib who paid him a courtesy call.

Abang Johari pointed out that an allocation of RM4.47 billion channelled to Sarawak under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), was merely 6.8 percent of the total national development expenditure under the First Rolling Plan of 12MP.

“It is noted that the seventh focus of the National 12th Malaysia Plan is ‘Boosting the Development of Sabah, Sarawak and Less Developed States’.

“However, the allocation is low compared to our needs to accelerate and close the development gaps,” he said at the press conference.

Abang Johari said the low allocation did not reflect the needs of Sarawak considering its size and level of development, as well as its status as an equal partner to the formation of Malaysia.

“In our discussion on the allocation to the state, I stressed to both Federal Ministers that as an equal partner, Sarawak, as in all partnerships, the partnership revenue to be shared should be based on several factors.

“This includes the state’s contribution to the federal coffers including revenues received by the federal government through the exploitation of the State’s natural resources and the revenue received from the taxes derived from the state,” he said.

Abang Johari (third left) stresses a point during the press conference. From left: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Wan Junaidi, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Hanifah.