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ONGKILI: Development budget for Sabah and Sarawak peanuts.

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 17, 2019:

Senior politician Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili had likened the National Budget 2020 to the Malay proverb “indah khabar dari rupa”.

Describing it to be “nothing spectacular nor innovative”, the Kota Marudu Member of Parliament said the National Budget looked attractive from afar, but when analysed in detail, there is not much in content.

“Indah khabar dari rupa … that’s how I would interpret it. It is too good to be true. In terms of development expenditure,  out of the RM58 billion allocated, only RM5.2b (or about 9 per cent) for Sabah and RM4.4b (about 7 per cent) for Sarawak, totalling a mere 16 per cent for both states. 

“There is nothing to shout about. If Sabah and Sarawak are considered equal partners in the Federation, both states should be given 30 per cent each of the development allocation,” he stressed.

The Parti Bersatu Sabah President further added that the Pakatan Harapan leaders, not less than the DAP Secretary General now Minister of Finance himself, during the 14th general election, had also openly promised to increase oil royalty to 20 per cent for Sabah and return 50 per cent of all taxes collected in the State, and questioned: “Where are these promises now? How much has been paid?”

Touching on the Shared Prosperity Vision, which had openly declared Vision 2020 has failed, Ongkili said there should be a white paper explaining where it has failed and how the newly designed Vision will resolve the failures and shortcomings.

"The challenges are the need for clearer goals, allocation and implementation. We don't want nice vision and plans, but end up failing again. We don't want promises but real delivery. Don't allow the statement of late Temanggong Jugah Anak Berieng made during the formation of Malaysia to be a reality repeatedly. His famous quote: 'Anang baka tebu, manis ba pun tang tabar ba ujung" (Do not be like the sugar cane, sweet at the beginning but tasteless at the end)," said Ongkili.

In debating the National Budget 2020, he further noted that the biggest disappointment was just a day after the launching of Shared Prosperity Vision on Oct 5, the Prime Minister officiated the Kongress Maruah Melayu where the organiser declared to the world that Malaysia belongs to the Malays.

" This statement is shocking given that the day before, the Country launched the Shared Prosperity Vision as basis for a developed nation, now set for 2030. You talk about sharing prosperity but openly declared this country belongs to one race only.

"If this is the foundation for a developed Malaysia, then we will be sorry because we will miss our goals miserably. Such a statement is not only racist but put our efforts in national unity backwards.

"Where do you put the other races in this country? And what about us the original people (orang asal) of Sabah and Sarawak? In this august House the MPs are all multiracial ... we all own Malaysia, not just one ethnic  group. This kind of statement must stop," he said.

On security in Sabah, he said locals expressed disappointment that intrusion by bandits and illegal immigrants is continuing. 

"Our security forces and agencies are complaining that they are still short of assets and equipment. We appeal that budget approved must be disbursed in full and on time.

"The Federal Government has planned to implement the Pas Sementara Sabah (PSS). We expressed objection to the programme because the possibility of abuse by officers and applicants," he said.

He questioned the PSS' processing procedures and demand details about the so-called 600,000 foreigners to be given the special pass. 

"We also want to know who are the screening committee, what are the checks and balances to ensure there is no abuse of the system, and whether they can guarantee that the PSS is given only to eligible applicants.

"With the recent arrests of NRD officers in Sabah and Penang, and numerous Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests of the past, we find it hard to trust the operation and transparency of the department. It needs total overhaul and massive cleansing," Ongkili stressed.

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