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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sabah shortchanged by 1st PH budget

KOTA KINABALU - Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan is disappointed with Budget 2019 as he feels Sabah has again been short-changed by the federal government.

“This government won after promising everything it could to Sabahans and Sarawakians. It even promised to give back half the revenue it collected from East Malaysia back to us.

“Sadly, these were not even mentioned in the budget tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng,” he told FMT.

The Keningau MP said he would raise the matter during the debate session in the Dewan Rakyat, especially because he could not understand why the federal government continued to breach the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by denying Sabah the 40% revenue it obtained from Sabah, as provided for under the constitution.

He said the federal government cannot continue to use the excuse that money is tight as this has nothing to do with Sabah’s rights.

“They have collected the revenue, haven’t they? Give us what we are entitled to. Why must they continue to take all 100%?”

Furthermore, Kitingan said he was disappointed with the mere RM5 billion which Lim said will be allocated to Sabah.

He said the amount is too small considering it is less than 10% of the whole development fund announced in the budget.

Personally, he said he was looking forward to a fair budget which reflected Sabah and Sarawak’s equal-partners status that the federal government had promised.

“Sabah is big, so is Sarawak. In Sabah, we have six residencies which can be equated to Malaya’s 11 states, while Sarawak has nine divisions.

“We should get the budget that correctly reflects this,” he said.

In the end, he said the current federal government is actually just the same as the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government which had continued to deny the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.

“We were looking forward to the first Pakatan Harapan budget but what we got is ‘ingga harapan’ (no hope).”

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