KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has hoped that the Federal Government could boost allocations of development funding for Sabah and Sarawak, in line with their rightful position as a region/territory in the Federation, as recognised by the Malaysia Agreement 1961 (MA63).
Its President, Tan Sri T C Goh, noted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had recently promised that the Federal Government would expedite to resolve the outstanding issues concerning MA63, which include the fund of 40% revenue collected from Sabah.
“On this basis, Sabah should receive more allocations from the Federal Government to develop the state,” he said.
Goh, who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC), said this in a statement issued today, while commenting on the debate on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) which is ongoing in the Parliament.
He reiterated that the Federal Government should expedite the official restoration of Sabah’s rightful status as a region/territory, and to promptly allocate development funding that commensurate with such status.
Goh, who is also President of the Federation of Sabah and Labuan Hokkien Associations (FSLHA), welcomed the Federal Government’s assurance that it will hand over the oil and gas rights to Sabah within the duration of 12MP, which is in the next four years.
He hoped the State Government could make necessary preparations to ensure that these two key sectors would bring about greater benefits and developments for Sabah.
He also supported the Federal Government’s move of allocating about 50% of the total basic development allocation, under the nine focus areas of the 12MP, to six less developed states which include Sabah.
On Sabah being allocated RM4.66 billion of development fund under 12MP, much higher than other states, Goh said it was a justified move citing the fact that out of 10 poorest districts in the country, 8 of them are in Sabah, which clearly indicated that developments in Sabah, its rural areas especially, are still lagging behind other states and are in urgent need of more improvements.
Touching on the development programmes catered for Sabah under the 12MP, he said while he welcomed the continuation of the Pan Borneo Highways project, he also agreed with Sabah Works Minister, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s lamentation over its “less than ideal” progress, and that the Federal Government’s annual allocation of RM1 billion for Sabah to implement the said project was insufficient and needs to be further increased.
Goh also welcomed and supported the various priorities given to Sabah under the 12MP which focused on the provision of basic infrastructure, security, digitisation, education, healthcare services, and economic development.
They include construction of new border control posts in Manalunan, Simanggaris and Kalabakan, to ensure security and enhance economic ties with Kalimantan, Indonesia; constructing and upgrading some 2,800 km of paved roads in Kota Belud, Sabah; construction of digital infrastructure, including the construction of telecommunication towers or transmitters to enhance broadband coverage where as of August 2021, 2,645 digital infrastructures have been installed in Sabah; a new power plant that would be built and the Sabah East-West Grid transmission line that would be upgraded; constructing of new clinics, and construction and repair of houses for the poor; to implement coastal erosion prevention plan, flood mitigation programme and installation of flood warning system in flood-prone areas throughout the state, among others.
He hoped all the said programmes could be promptly implemented as scheduled to benefit the people of Sabah.