Budget 2015: Why Sabah deserves special deal
Posted on October 9, 2014, Thursday
KOTA KINABALU: With Sabah’s basic infrastructures in a “sorry state”, DAP Kapayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi said the State deserves a special consideration in the National Budget 2015.
He said past national budgets have shown how little allocations were given to Sabah.
“Yet, in spite of this apparent disparity, our parliamentarians have seen fit to remain mute, some supporting in protest while others stick to party line and do not want to rock the boat. It appears that only opposition lawmakers were making constructive noises,” he said.
Dr Bosi, who is DAP Sabah secretary, added that the thousands of Sabah youths streaming away to Malaya and other parts of the world in search of greener pastures are testimony of Sabah government’s failure to create and provide jobs.
“The youths were never prepared to take up jobs in the plantations and construction industry. That explains why thousands of foreigners have flooded Sabah to find work in the oil palm plantations and construction industry,” he said.
Dr Bosi said now that Sabah is confirmed as a fixed deposit for Umno BN, the Prime Minister should be more sympathetic to and concerned for Sabah.
“If the basic infrastructure remains ancient, the migration of youth will continue and the people in general will remain in poverty.
“I am pretty sure the 14th general election will produce and spring a surprise. Even the BR1M will not save BN from defeat,” he predicted.
“As one of the three nations to form Malaysia, I am expecting the government to provide at least 30% of the budget to Sabah. Only then we can see the transformation in the basic infrastructures, the agriculture and tourism sectors.
When more investments arrive so would the youths who have left the shores here, and this time with their working skills and experiences. We need to be prepared for them as we prepare the existing local human resources.
“Sabah Budget 2015 will be tabled in November. I am somewhat pessimistic whether the government can come up with another big budget like the one in 2014.
“The 5% oil royalty will be about a billion while the sales tax on crude palm oil (CPO) will likely go down. Unless the government receives high profit sharing returns, issue another bond and receive a substantial amount of federal allocations, then I can say that the Budget 2015 will be below the four billion mark.
“However, if the government is successful in getting 20% oil royalty, then this will immediately inject about four billion to the Sabah treasury,” he reckoned
Dr Bosi also said whatever it is he would like to advise the government to listen to the grassroots when preparing the budget. The inputs from the village chiefs, Kapitan Cina and Village Development and Security Committees should be welcomed and acted upon.
“They would certainly outline all the problems in the villages and towns and the government can put them (their views) to their implementing agencies to study and mitigate while the government looks for funds to implement them.
“The inputs from the government agencies must be taken seriously as they are the people who know what is required to keep the country running well. The District Officer is the most important government officer and it is only fair that the government appoints the most qualified officer for the job,” he said.
“The proposals, recommendations and views from the government agencies are of utmost importance to the government. Needless to say, the government agencies must be ever ready to listen to the people and feel their problems.
“For example, when the Public Works Department engineers proposed building flyovers to ease traffic congestions, the government must say ok and look for the funds for it.
“The Drainage and Irrigation Department engineers must have come up with a master plan on flood mitigation and it is the government’s duty to look for the funds to implement it.
“I am fed up with answers from government agencies saying that there are no allocations for such and such. A government which can boast a huge budget must not disappoint the taxpayers and the people. Our role as opposition lawmakers is obvious. We will always listen to the people and raise their grievances to the government. We will also play our role as constructive opposition lawmakers,” he added.
Dr Bosi expressed the hope of seeing a good budget allocation for Sabah from the national budget 2015.
“When I talk about good budget it means for the development of Sabah. The security funding is equally important but that should come from the national security and defence component,” he stressed.