Sarawak wants Putrajaya to come up with formula for giving special grants to state

Posted on : 08 Feb 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third right) hands over the GPS flag to organising chairman Dr Annuar Rapaee, while from (left) Progressive Democratic Party president Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, Uggah, Masing and Sarawak United People’s Party president Dato Sri Dr Sim look on after the launching of GPS Sibu (Zone 9).

SIBU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg wants a formula created to be used for giving special grants to Sarawak under Article 112(d) of the Federal Constitution.

He noted that presently there was no formula to work out the amount given to the state, and questioned the basis of the calculation.

“They want to give us grants under 112(d) of the Federal Constitution, and I have discussed in the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) Committee that we want a formula to be created for grants given to us based on Article 112(d) of the Federal Constitution.

“If they give us, then we take first, but the principle of calculating the amount is wrong. There must be a formula because they receive taxes from Sarawak, including income tax, vehicle tax, corporate tax and stamp duty which are all paid to Kuala Lumpur (Putrajaya). Hence, what they give back to Sarawak should be based on a formula,” Abang Johari said in his speech at the launching of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Sibu (Zone 9) held at the Civic Centre here today.

It was reported last October that Sarawak would be given an increased special grant of RM32 million while Sabah would receive RM53.4 million under Budget 2020, and the federal government had pledged to double the special grants in the next five years, resulting in RM 64 million for Sarawak and RM 106.8 million for Sabah.

Meanwhile, the chief minister also assured that GPS-led government would not back down from negotiating to get back the eroded state’s rights.

“As long as GPS is in power, we will not concede our rights in immigration – that is our rights. Our immigration rights must be protected at all cost. GPS can protect this,” he said, also mentioning that the state’s Land Code could not be merged with the national Land Code or else it would be jeopardised.

Additionally, he maintained that Sarawak’s ruling coalition wanted the words “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963” to be included in the amended Article 1(2) and that the interpretation under Article 160(2) must refer to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), not the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957.

He also noted that the state was well-managed in terms of its financial resources as well as natural resources, citing various initiatives such as post-natal care, newborn babies incentive, electricity connection fee subsidy and water bill subsidy as examples.

GPS Sibu (Zone 9) is comprised of Bawang Assan, Nangka, Bukit Assek, Pelawan and Dudong.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas Douglas and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, various ministers and component party leaders.