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Be brave, Sabah leaders told

 | June 23, 2013

According to local opposition Sabah State Reform Party, Kuala Lumpur has brainwashed Sabah BN leaders and made them meek.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah leaders must discard their meekness and be brave in asserting Sabah’s rights and entitlement to much needed funds for development and progress.

State Reform Party (STAR Sabah) chief Jeffrey Kitingan said failure to do so would see the Bornean state continue to lag behind the rest of Malaysia.

He cited as example Chief Minister Musa Aman’s refusal to seek a bigger share of revenue derived from the state’s oil and gas oil reserves.

Musa had linked the 40% entitlement to federal allocations to oil royalties and refused to push for more funds.

“I believe Sabah leaders have been brainwashed by Kuala Lumpur to the extent that they are unable to seek Sabah’s entitlement.

“40% of the net revenue collected from Sabah is the state’s entitlement under the 10th schedule of the Federal Constitution and should not be confused with allocations from the federal government.

“The 40% entitlement is for the use of the Sabah government at its sole discretion to meet its state needs whereas the federal allocations are decided by the federal government.

“The priorities for Sabah are very different from that of the federal government.

“Much needed funds are required by the state government to carry out its programmes for the people in Sabah and the additional funds from the 40% entitlement will not only enable the state government to perform better but also give a big boost to the state economy as well,” Kitingan said.

The Bingkor assemblyman said Musa was confusing the collection of revenue by federal departments and agencies like the Customs, Immigration and Road Transport, with the overall figure.

Kitingan said the RM38 billion he was referring to is based on information released by the Sabah Director of the Inland Revenue Board stating that RM40 billion was targeted to be collected from Sabah in 2013.

“It was not an arbitrary amount given by me,” Kitingan stressed.

Duplicating duties

He also pointed to the wastage funds due to federal and state departments and agencies overlapping and duplicating each others duties.

He said if the relevant federal agencies that had been set up in the state were abolished, there would be considerable savings on management or operational costs which could then be channeled to development expenditure for Sabah.

“Sabah leaders need to start changing their mindset and remember that they represent the people of Sabah and need to look after Sabah and her people.

Kitingan also pointed to how the federal government demanded repayment for the provision of basic amenities in Sabah as an example of taking and then charging the state for development.

One example, he said was the funding for a water supply project in Keningau in the interior of Sabah which is a Barisan Nasional stronghold.

“Sabah contributed more than RM40 billion in revenue to the federal government and Petronas in 2012 yet the RM235 million water treatment supply project in Keningau had to be funded as a federal loan from Putrajaya,” he reminded.

Reiterating that there is an urgent need for development funds in Sabah, he said one immediate source is through an increase in the cash payment for Sabah’s oil and gas from the current 5% to double that amount.

“A marginal increase of the cash payment from 5% to 10% will bring in an additional RM941 million to the state coffers which amounts to a 25% increase in the State revenue,” he pointed out.


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