WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR SABAH?
“STAR Sabah supports additional state and parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak and the need to observe the composition ratio of parliamentary seats agreed at the formation of Malaysia as well as ensure a fairer and more equitable distribution of funds for each constituency and the access to facilities and amenities by the people in both States,” stated Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman of STAR Sabah in response to the opinion and suggestion of lawyer, Yunuf Maringking, on additional seats for Sabah.
When Malaysia was formed in 1963, Malaya was only allocated 104 seats representing 65% of the parliamentary seats with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore getting 35%. This was a constitutional safeguard for the Borneo States to ensure that the Federal Constitution would not be freely amended by Malaya representatives alone.
In the current 222-seats parliament, Sabah and Sarawak should be getting a minimum of 78 seats and not the current 56.
It was also recommended in paragraphs 165 and 190(g) of the Cobbold Commission Report that “representation of the Borneo territories shall take into account not only of their populations but also of their size and potentialities.”
Regarding the examples of Kuamut and Keningau referred by Yunuf, it has to be pointed out that
- Sabah with 73,620 sq.km is in area equal to 9 states in Peninsular and 90 times the size of Perlis (816 sq.km.) and
- Kuamut (under Tongod District) is 10,054 sq.km which is larger than Kedah state of 9,347 sq.km and
- Keningau is 3,533 sq.km which is larger than the combined 3,405 sq.km areas of Malacca (1,650 sq.km.), Penang (1,039 sq.km.) and Perlis (816 sq.km.).
- Kedah has 15 MPs, 36 assemblymen, 1 Menteri Besar and 1 Sultan while
- Kuamut in only represented by an assemblyman and shares it MP with Sukau (6,604 sq.km) which is about the size of Negeri Sembilan with 6,633 sq.km which has 8 MPs and 36 assemblymen.
- Keningau is represented by 1 MP and 3 assemblymen while Malacca, Penang and Perlis are represented by a total of 26 MPs and 83 assemblymen, 2 Chief Ministers and 1 Menteri Besar, 2 TYTs and 1 Raja (Sultan).
“The disparity is amazing and the problems of the people and development in each district in Sabah are further hindered by huge imbalances in development allocations,” added Dr. Jeffrey.
Just last week, the Chief Minister of Malacca announced that
- Malacca was given an allocation of RM1.2 billion for 2011 to 2013 and requested for at least RM1.0 billion each year under the 10th Malaysia Plan to enhance the state’s economy and industrial development.
- The allocation for Keningau is less than RM10 million.
The Prime Minister also announced last week that the revenue collection for 2011 was a record RM109.674 billion. The contribution from Sabah was a record RM22.7 billion yet Sabah is not rewarded but the inland revenue department will be getting fat bonuses.
If Point 11 of the 20-Points was implemented, all the RM22.7 billion would have been collected by Sabah and even assuming Sabah’s 1/3 contribution to the federal government, Sabah will still retain RM15.1 billion for its own development in addition to the current RM3.7 billion state revenue.
Similarly, days ago, Petronas announced that it made a record RM96.561 billion gross profit for the 9-months period ending 31 December 2011 with the federal government getting RM27.113 billion in tax revenue and RM30 billion in dividend payment. Sabah contributes not less than RM15 billion of the profits and gets only a paltry 5% oil payment while the 44,000 employees of Petronas will be getting a record of not less than 6.7 months bonus.
Sabah is a rich and wealthy State. But given its treatment by the federal government, it is no surprise that Sabah is the poorest State with its people deprived of proper roads, electricity and other infrastructure and lack of clean piped water, healthcare and educational services with funds needed to provide basic amenities while states in the Peninsular are talking about huge allocations for economic and industrial development not basic amenities.
Where is the justice for Sabah?
Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman, STAR Sabah