KUALA LUMPUR: It will take at least a year to come up with a formula for revenue sharing with Sabah and Sarawak, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said this was because of the country’s dire financial position.
“The formula and implementation may take at least a year. After that, we need to see our financial situation and our ability to spend.
“The fiscal position is very challenging. We are facing constraints due to scandals inherited from the past administration. If we are to implement the formula, the financial position must permit.
“If there were no scandals, this would not be a big issue. But like it or not, we have to face reality, based on facts and figures. We cannot run away,” he said in response to a question by Wong Chen (PH-Subang).
Wong had asked whether the government would propose the revenue sharing formula for Sabah and Sarawak, and the time frame to do so.
Lim said they had waited for such a formula for almost 50 years, and it was only happening now after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government took over.
Earlier, Lim said in line with one of the promises made in the manifesto, the cabinet had, on Sept 5, agreed to set up a special cabinet committee to relook the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and to make recommendations to the federal government on the implementation of the rights of, and autonomy to, Sabah and Sarawak.
He said the special cabinet committee would be divided into steering, technical and working committees, and would include experts.
“This committee will prioritise justice and equity, to ensure all quarters get justice, as provided under the laws of the country, in order to uphold the rule of law in our country.
“The issue of an imbalance in the physical development and socio-economy between states in the peninsula, as compared with Sabah and Sarawak, will be given more serious emphasis.
“This will help the federal government to draft a more holistic economic development plan, and this will then be able to close the economic gap among the states in Malaysia,” he added.