Sabah and Sarawak slighted in 2021 Budget

In the 2021 Budget, Muyhiddin has manifested a return of the Najib’s style of management epitomised as “Cash is King” and “Concentration of power in Prime Minister”.

Comparing the 2021 Budget with the 2020 Budget, there is a sharp increase in the Development Expenditure (D.E.) for the Prime Minister Department (PMD).

In the 2020 Budget tabled by the Pakatan Harapan Government, the D.E. for PMD was only RM2.93 billion.  But in the 2021 Budget, the D.E. for PMD is increased to RM7.22 billion.

Amongst the D.E. allocation for PMD there exists a few items which we can call “slush fund” where there is no specific purpose stated for the allocation and the usage of such fund is up to the whims and fancies of the Prime Minister alone.  These so-called “slush fund’ items are RM520 million (Program Pembangunan), RM813 million (Projek Public Private Partnership), RM1,000 million (Projek Khas) and RM330 million (Projek Mesra Rakyat).

It seems that the reforms implemented by the Pakatan Harapan in the 22-month of PH Government, ie. the dilution of the Prime Minister’s power, is now being reversed by the current Perikatan Nasional Government and the old way of “Cash is King” and “All powerful Prime Minister” administration is inherited from Najib to Muyhiddin.

What saddens me is that, despite the increase of 147% in JPM’s D.E. allocation for 2021, the “Poverty Project Semenanjung/Sabah/Sarawak” (Butiran 00102 under the PMD) has been reduced by 30% from RM90 million in Budget 2020 to RM63 million in Budget 2021.

The importance of Sabah and Sarawak is slighted and discriminated against in the 2021 Budget presented by the Perikatan Nasional Government despite the “King-maker” role of GPS.

Despite the fact that the PN Government has appointed a Minister of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs, the Operating Expenditure allocated for the Sabah and Sarawak Division in the PMD for year 2021 is at a meagre RM22 million compared to the RM4.47 billion Operating Expenditure allocated for the PMD.  Staff strength wise, the Sabah and Sarawak Division has only 106 officers compared to the total 24,000 officers in PMD. It seems that the Minister of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs is the only minister who has no Development Expenditure allocated for its portfolio.

Under the 2021 Budget for the PMD, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Johor is allocated RM14 million, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Kedah is allocated RM16 million, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Kelantan is allocated RM7 million, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Terengganu is allocated RM10 million, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Sabah is allocated RM9 million. Shockingly, Perbadanan Kemajuaan Negeri Sarawak is only allocated RM665,000.

For all the GPS’ “King-Maker” role in making the “Sheraton Move” a success and forming the PN Government, except for few of the GPS Members of Parliament being appointed as ministers and deputy ministers, there is no gratitude shown in the 2021 Budget for Sarawak.

Even the D.E. for Sabah and Sarawak was reduced in percentage from 17.14% under 2020 Budget to 13.91% in Budget 2021.

In 2020 Budget, the total D.E. was RM56 billion and a sum of RM9.6 billion was allocated specifically for Sabah and Sarawak.  In 2021 Budget, the total D.E. has been increased substantially to RM69 billion, yet, the D.E. allocation for Sabah & Sarawak remains stagnant at RM9.6 billion.

The budgetary allocation under the PMD has shown clearly being unfair towards Sabah and Sarawak.  To right this wrong, I have submitted a motion for an additional allocation of RM3 billion to be placed under the portfolio of the Minister of Sabah and Sarawak Affair.  But my motion was rejected by the Speaker and the PN Government.

For the injustice and unfairness, there is absolutely no reason to support the allocation for the PMD.  For that, the PH has decided to call for division on voting to record our objection to the allocation for the PMD.

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