KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah deputy chief minister Christina Liew is unhappy with the RM725 million allocation to upgrade 50 dilapidated schools in Sabah and Sarawak.
This was among her main grouses over allocations given to Sabah in Budget 2021, which the Tawau MP described as a “letdown for Sabahans”.
“It will be interesting to know how much Sabah will actually receive for school repairs,” she said in a statement here today.
“In fact, Sabah alone has more than 100 dilapidated schools. They have yet to be rehabilitated.”
Liew said the state government needed more financial allocations across the board for infrastructure development, education, medical services and, most of all, tourism, a key industry which was particularly hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the development allocation of RM5.1 billion to Sabah smacked of unfairness and inequality.
“Our disproportionate share is a total disappointment. Sabah deserves a bigger development budget.
“Instead of augmenting the development expenditure for Sabah to remove disparities in respect of infrastructure and healthcare facilities, the Perikatan Nasional government has slashed the allocation by RM100 million.
“The RM5.1 billion development budget is grossly inadequate. The government has failed to take cognizance of Sabah’s genuine need for more allocations to further develop its infrastructure, health and education sectors.”
Meanwhile, Liew, who was also the former state tourism minister, pointed out it was equally distressing to note that there was hardly enough in the federal budget to help rejuvenate the flagging tourism industry.
She said the budget had failed to meet the critical needs of major stakeholders, particularly tourism enterprises, adding there are hardly any incentive packages for hotel operators, among others.
“While there is a special grant for traders, taxi drivers, e-hailing drivers and tour guides in Sabah, the allocation of RM50 million for the maintenance and restoration of tourism facilities nationwide is glaringly insufficient,” she said.
Liew said the government should listen to the call by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) to consider extending the loan moratorium up to June next year.