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Serious imbalance in flow of resources between p’sula, East M’sia
Published on: Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Tan Sri Datuk Panglima Dr Herman Luping
The Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak are asking all the people in their states to come and work together to discuss Sabah rights, which has never been done before.

Sarawak has been particularly vocal in pursuing its own rights and getting its own development rights.

This is very exciting for me personally as in the past when I would bring up matters like this, I could soon expect a call from the authorities. During the old days we weren’t allowed to talk about Sabah rights – it was a subject that would get you into trouble and perhaps thrown into jail. Kudos should be given to Datuk Musa for getting us into a position where we can receive our own money for our own development.

The amount of money that should be sent to Sabah and Sarawak that has not been paid by the Federal Government to help in the development in the states is huge and we are owed a great deal.

When Malaysia was formed, it was a joining with the Malayan Federation with Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak as independent states. Sabah is not one of 13 States, it’s one of three – Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak – and we identified what areas would be developed in our Eastern States. Slowly it has become less about equal partners and more about Peninsula Malayan Federation taking over from the British Colonial Government as almost colonial governors, not partners. Now, however, this is changing and it is looking increasingly that the development of the States will be left in our own hands so that we can expand on our own.

This is wonderful, however the development money needs to come in the arrears owed by the Federal Government to the Borneo States to disperse as they see fit. This funding from the Federal Government is money historically taken in the form of taxes on our businesses and resources that needs to be returned to the State.

As such there has been a serious imbalance in the flow of resources between the Peninsula and East Malaysia.

We have Datuk Adenan Satem to thank for bringing this up with the Federal Government, that they owe us billions of ringgit. We need to have the rights to our money to use in development in our own State to fund roads, construction and housing throughout our State.

We are now encouraged to discuss with the Federal Leaders what the rights of the states of Sabah and Sarawak should be. These rights are set down in the original 20 points that were an integral part of Sabah joining the Federation of Malaysia but for many years we could not discuss them. Even one year after the Federation, the 20 points were not being discussed. The Federation of Malaya was one State with Sabah and Sarawak and Singapore were individual States to form Malaysia.

When Singapore left the Federation they went on to become the most successful and richest state in this part of the world. Soon after the Federation, and after Singapore left, particularly under Tun Abdul Raman and Dr Mahathir there was no further talk to be had about developing Sabah.

There has in the past been 10 year plans but they never really had Federal support so never were pursued as well they could have been. But now, with Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman and the former Chief Minister of Sarawak pushing hard on these we should be able to look forward to a strong Sabah/Sarawak.

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