KOTA KINABALU: Granting Sabah and Sarawak administrative authority in the education and health sectors, especially in the recruitment of staff, is one of the important matters being discussed by the federal government via the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) secretariat.
Deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof said both states faced challenges in the education and health sectors because planning for the sectors were implemented by Putrajaya, including matters like the recruitment of teachers and health workers.
He said most of these vacancies were filled by candidates who did not want to work in Sabah or Sarawak as they would be serving in the interior.
“We are waiting for the methods and terms that will be presented by the governments of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said at a press conference after attending a Malaysian Cocoa Board event here.
Fadillah added that the federal government has conceptually agreed for the Sabah and Sarawak governments to take back land which Putrajaya took for development if the land has not been developed or has been abandoned after five years.
“(They will be returned) to the state governments with the states paying back the compensation at the rate that was first (paid). If part of the development was made and then abandoned, the cost of building the infrastructure and so on will also be returned (by the states),” he said.
He said the matter was currently awaiting discussion in a technical meeting, which was previously postponed because the finance ministry has not been able to finalise some related matters.
He said the two other matters being discussed were the formula for determining special grants to Sabah and Sarawak based on Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, as well as a more appropriate division of parliamentary seats between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
“The amount of (special) interim grants to the governments of Sabah and Sarawak has increased. It used to be small. Now, almost RM300 million will be distributed annually on an interim basis while we are still negotiating the formula on how to determine the distribution method,” he said.