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Use up Federal allocations, says Shafie
Published on: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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Use up Federal allocations, says Shafie
Shafie also highlighted the unemployment problem in Sabah which currently has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, with the number of jobless individuals close to 200,000.
SENALLANG Assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the State Government should set up a one-stop centre to effectively monitor and ensure that development allocations are used appropriately.  

Citing the allocation review conducted by the Malaysian National Accountant Department, he said it was found that out of the RM6.5 billion Federal allocation to Sabah, only 54 per cent or RM3.5 billion had been spent.  

“Every year we express our concerns on this matter. It is crucial to have a dedicated team that can effectively monitor and address the delays in completing development projects,” he said during the debate on the 2024 State Budget at the State Assembly. 

“At times, we may criticise the Federal Government for not providing funding, but when they do allocate the funds, we struggle to effectively use them. What could be the reason behind this?”   

He claimed that there are numerous factors contributing to this, including the presence of incompetent companies.  

“It is important to carefully consider and select companies that possess the necessary qualifications to complete the jobs.  It is essential to have a highly efficient team in place.   

“It’s already November and by the end of this month, all the money will be returned to the Federal Government,” he said. 

Shafie also highlighted the unemployment problem in Sabah which currently has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, with the number of jobless individuals close to 200,000.

He also stressed the need to address poverty where eight districts in Sabah are among the 10 poorest in the nation.  

“Ensuring job opportunities for Sabahans is crucial when investors are involved.  However, upon reviewing the 2024 State Budget, it is evident that there is a lack of concrete strategies to address the issue of unemployment. Thus, it is important for the State Government to address and resolve this issue,” he said.  

He also spoke about the potential of barter trade as a solution to combating the smuggling of goods.  

“There is a significant issue with smuggling along the East Coast, not only of food items, and it is clear that proper enforcement is lacking.   What actions have been taken to address this issue? I understand that the Federal Government has the primary responsibility, but it would be beneficial for the State Government to actively address this issue.” 

He also emphasised the importance of the State Government taking proactive measures to improve education and health services, focusing not only on physical development but also on the quality of content provided.  

“Improving education and healthcare services is a pressing need in Sabah,” he said. 

Shafie also stressed on the need for the State Government to be cautious with its spending.

“I analysed the budget framework as well as the current state of the world and our country’s economy which is burdened with significant debt.  The way Sabah is using its funds is cause for concern. The significant expenditures incurred through overseas trips raise questions about our awareness of the RM1.5 trillion debt. 

“There may come a time when our country encounters challenges like those faced by other nations, and it is my hope that the State Government exercises fiscal responsibility,” he said, citing the expenses spent on study tours abroad, such as to the United Kingdom. 

“It is important to carefully manage expenses to address the needs of the people, such as the costs of food, expenses for children’s education and scholarships for students.  

“The content in the State Budget does not align with the needs of the people on the ground. It lacks a comprehensive plan to address poverty and fails to address the rising cost of goods.”   

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