PETALING JAYA: An analyst has proposed that political parties in Sabah form a bloc or caucus to help push for greater development in the state, which remains one of the poorest in Malaysia.
Mujibu Muis of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) said Sabah politicians do not seem as united in advocating for their rights compared to their Sarawakian counterparts, who have come together despite their different political backgrounds.
“A strong bloc or caucus can pressure and negotiate with Putrajaya, similar to Sarawak,” he told FMT.
However, he admitted that the bickering among Sabah’s leaders, which intensified following the change in the state government twice since the 2018 general election, made it more difficult for a bloc to be formed.
Mujibu was responding to a call by Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis for elected representatives from Sabah to stop blaming Putrajaya over the lack of infrastructure.
Isnaraissah said they should emulate Sarawak’s administration, which has outstripped Sabah in many ways.
She said this included supervising the Pan Borneo Highway stretch in the state, which is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year. Work on the Sabah stretch of the highway is only expected to be ready in another four years.
Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah believes the resentment among Sabahans towards Putrajaya is justified considering the amount the federal government sets aside for the state despite it being one of the major contributors to the nation’s revenue.
“The money allocated to Sabah and Sarawak is limited, even though a significant portion of the country’s oil and gas revenue comes from both regions.
“So, who else should they be angry with if not the administrative capital?” he said.
Lee said the federal government should allow Sabah to collect revenue from its own oil, natural gas, and tourist taxes before giving Putrajaya its share.
“Perhaps, through this system, more money will stay in Sabah, and there’s no need to rely on Putrajaya for funds,” he said.