Sarawak rejects Putrajaya’s special grant

KUCHING: The state government cannot accept Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s announcement on a special grant to Sarawak because the review was done without consulting the state.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said a draft guideline of the review of the special grant had been submitted by the state’s Ministry of Finance to the federal government for further action, but to date no decision had been formally communicated to the state.

“There has been no answer to the review of the special grant. But during the tabling of the National 2020 Budget, Lim Guan Eng mentioned in his speech that the federal government had already reviewed the special grant to Sabah and Sarawak,” she said when speaking on ‘Revisit the Implementation of Sarawak’s Rights Under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’ during a discourse for Bau District organised by Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep at Bau Civic Centre yesterday.

She said Lim’s decision could not be accepted because he did the review in a unilateral manner and he did not even inform or held prior discussion with the state government.

“He did it by himself without telling us, which is improper, and of course we disagree,” she said.

Both federal and state government had agreed to review the special grant under Section 112 (D) of the Federal Constitution, and it has been discussed by the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee at Putrajaya.

On October 11, when tabling the National Budget 2020 in Parliament, Lim Guan Eng announced that the special grants to Sabah and Sarawak would be doubled.

“For the first time, the government proposed to double it to RM53.4 million for Sabah and RM32 million for Sarawak next,” he said.

Sharifah Hasidah (centre) with Henry (on Hasidah’s right), Deputy State Attorney General Saferi Ali (on Hasidah’s left), Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) Walikota Datuk Peter Minos (on Henry’s right) and some attendees at the discourse on ‘Revisit the Implementation of Sarawak’s Rights Under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’ discourse. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni