Budget unfair to Sabah, S’wak, say MPs

PETALING JAYA: An opposition MP from Sarawak and another from Sabah have alleged that their states were given short shrift in the Budget 2017 proposals.

The MP for Bandar Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen of DAP, said he regarded the reduction in allocations for Sarawak as “significant” and speculated that this was because Barisan Nasional believed it was already well entrenched in the state.

“If you look at the budget, Sarawak was not mentioned as much as it was mentioned in previous budgets,” he said.

Penampang MP Darell Leiking, a leader of the new Parti Warisan Sabah, said it was evident from the way Sabah was treated in the budget proposals that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration was refusing to recognise the state as equal in status with Peninsular Malaysia.

“Sabah is not just any state; it’s a partner state,” he said. “And in the Federal Constitution, Sabah is promised 40 per cent of the net revenue the state collects.

“We expected more from this budget, but Najib has failed to give us what we wanted.”

Chong also complained about what he said was the “total absence” of measures to combat corruption.

He said the pervasiveness of corruption in Sabah and Sarawak had deprived their citizens of economic development and the quality of life they deserved.

He cited the recent arrest of Sabah Water Department’s director, deputy director and two others for alleged corruption involving more than RM100 million.

He pointed to reports alleging that 60 per cent of the funds allocated to the department were pocketed by government officials and that more than RM3 billion meant to improve water supply in Sabah were not used for the public’s benefit.