Sabah deserves 15pc, economic equity
Published on: Sunday, November 27, 2022
By: Datuk John Lo
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1. https://www.malaymail.com/news/ malaysia/2022/11/21/abang-johari-demands-10pc-of-federal-development-fund-be-allocated-to-sarawak/41008

Interesting news item on Abang Johari’s latest on the amount of development budget Sarawak should have.

2. Sarawak’s Abang Johari has demanded 10pc of total annual development budget from the Federal Government for Sarawak. 

It is said that if you do not ask, you never get to be considered. If you don’t demand, you never get anything. That was the case for Sabah. Abang Johari has given the following reasons for asking 10pc of the total development budget. He gave 2 reasons for the 10pc.

Reason 1.

He said this is in view of the fact that the state has made significant contributions to the national economic growth as well as federal government coffers in terms of collection of taxes and other sources of revenue, especially from oil and gas.

Reason 2.

“This amount represents only 5.7 per cent of the total Federal Development Budget of RM95 billion for 2023 and, is obviously far from enough to meet the development needs and address the imbalances between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia,” Abang Johari said when tabling the State Budget 2023 at the Sarawak State Assembly.

3. Sabah deserve 15pc of the total development budget.

I am in agreement with Abang Johari’s call for the 10pc for Sarawak. In my humble opinion Sabah has justification to deserve 15pc for the following reasons.

Reason 1.

Sabah has also contributed just as much as Sarawak, if not more, to the national economy in oil and gas. Now Sabah is now and will be for many years, the largest oil and gas producer state in Malaysia.

Reason 2.

The Federal Government has assisted Sarawak to establish a robust oil and gas industry since Malaysia Day. But it has done nothing for Sabah until recently. As a result of Federal neglect/negligence, Sabah is many years behind Sarawak. Sabah needs the 15pc to establish and improve all aspects of the oil and gas industry in double quick time before our resources have been depleted completely.

Reason 3.

The Federal Government has siphoned off our oil and gas and at our expense, to establish an oil and gas industry forMalacca and Johor. Both these states do not produce any oil and gas but have been favoured by the Federal Government. The Federal Government should, in the name of justice, must address this serious anomaly and mistreatment on Sabah.

Reason 4.

The Federal Government has diverted our gas to Bintulu, depriving Sabah huge opportunities to industrialize.

Reason 5.

For more than 30 years, the Federal Government has failed to introduce a policy for the oil palm industry to establish down-stream industry. CPO that has been produced in Sabah, like our oil and gas, has been diverted elsewhere, including China, India and Europe as feedstock for their factories. 

4. Economic equity for Sabah is perfect Unity Government.

As a Sabahan, may I take this opportunity to congratulate Anwar as our 10th PM and best wish to his unity government as decreed by the Agong. May he succeed in bringing peace, good governance and above unity to Malaysia.

May I also take this opportunity to appraise Anwar that if Sarawak feels like an wanted adopted child in Malaysia, it has many justifications to do so. 

If I may also say that Sabah’s feeling is much worse than Sarawak’s. Sabah is like a 4th class unwanted child in Malaysia, having received crumbs from the annual budget. 

I am sure Anwar knows that Sabah has among many economic setbacks, is Malaysia’s richest in resources and the poorest with the highest rate of poverty in the country.

May I be allowed to remind Anwar that in his endeavour to create a unity government for Malaysia, such a unity government can only truly unite all parts of Malaysia when Sabah can have economic equity from the Federal Government. A unity government with economic equity is perfect for Sabah.

Sabahans want to be Malaysian as much as other Malaysians in West Malaysia in this unity government. For us to be a meaningful partner in this unity government, I hope Anwar will give Sabah economic equity and justice.

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer Datuk John Lo and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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