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Guan Eng moots extra RM2b funds for Sabah, Sarawak to prove 'Keluarga Malaysia' concept truly includes all

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Penang High Court in George Town November 22, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The Opposition DAP today urged the federal government to increase its Budget 2022 allocations for Sabah and Sarawak by RM2 billion.

Its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said that the additional funds could be divided equally to cover those who are categorised as Bumiputera as well as those that aren’t, to prove the government truly cares for all demographic groups as touted under the Keluarga Malaysia slogan.

“The additional RM 2 billion on top of the RM332 billion 2022 Budget will not materially affect the federal government debt or Budget deficit of 6.5 per cent this year and 6 per cent next year, but may be critical to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession.

“Giving the four critical sectors an extra RM500 million each or an additional RM2 billion Budget allocations amounts to 0.1 per cent of the budget deficit,” the former federal finance minister said in a statement.

The Bagan MP said that public allocations based on needs, as opposed to race, can provide both socio-economic justice, effective outcomes and unite the people.

“Using racist or extremist sentiments to justify the distribution of government allocations will not only be divisive but also lead to cronyism, corruption and abuse of power on the use of government funds and resources.

“DAP regrets that PAS MPs continue to oppose the additional allocations not on the basis of economic rationale but on race. PAS MPs oppose DAP’s suggestion by claiming it is not fair for non-bumis to also get an extra RM500 million since they only comprise 30 per cent of the population and they are more poor Bumiputeras,” he said.

He accused PAS of continuing to use racism and extremism as political weapons to gain support by rejecting allocations to non-bumiputeras.

“PAS ignores the unhappiness of non-Bumis that despite making up 30 per cent of the population, they received only RM345 million or 0.1 per cent of Budget 2022 of RM332 billion,” he said.

He said that DAP does not have an issue with Bumiputeras receiving an RM11.4 billion allocation but said there should be fairer distribution for Sabah, Sarawak and all Malaysians.

“Using racist or extremist sentiments in Budget allocations will not help in saving lives and livelihood of the poor and businesses, especially SMEs,” he said.

He also pointed out that Sabah and Sarawak are receiving less under Budget 2022 as compared to Pakatan Harapan’s Budget 2020 in terms of percentage.

“Development expenditure in Budget 2022 was increased to RM75.6 billion as compared to RM56 billion in PH’s 2020 Budget. However, Sabah still received the same amount of RM5.2 billion development expenditure in the 2022 Budget as PH had provided for in Budget 2020.

“In other words, Sabah is worse off in receiving 6.9 per cent of development expenditure under Budget 2022 as compared to 9.3 per cent under PH’s Budget 2020. If Sabah were to be given the same 9.3 per cent of development expenditure in Budget 2022 that PH had provided for in Budget 2020, then Sabah should be receiving RM7 billion and not RM5.2 billion in Budget 2022,” he said.

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