KUCHING: Two native organisations want the annual grant for Sarawak and Sabah to be calculated accurately.
In a joint statement today the Dayak Think Tank Association Sarawak (DTTAS) and Dayak National Congress (DNC) said the annual special grant under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution should use the correct formula in order to obtain the appropriate amount to be distributed to Sarawak and Sabah.
“The allocation of RM16million which was previously allocated to Sarawak under Article 112D clearly does not reflect the needs of Sarawak, which takes into account the geographical area, its level of development and its status as a partner in the formation of Malaysia.
“It is now the year 2022, no longer 1957 or 1963. Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia and needs more specific attention and allocation to develop the state thus helping the target to achieve the status of a high-income and developed state by 2030,” it said.
They also pointed out that the special grant was last reviewed in 1969, despite the Federal Constitution stating that a review must be made every five years.
Both DTTAS and DNC questioned the formula on obtaining the special grant under Article 112D and stressed that it cannot be given as one-off due to increase in revenue obtained by the federal government and the calculation on the formula should be adjusted.
“Therefore, to revise Article 112D, the first thing that should be taken into account is the increase in the scale of the grant starting from 1974, which is the year in which the special grant was stopped. Secondly, the arrears of special grants from 1974 to 2019 and onwards to 2022.
“This arrears should be taken into account. It cannot be denied that the main reason why development in Sarawak and Sabah is far behind is due to the lack of distribution of allocation funds to the two states.”
Following a statement made by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed that Sarawak recorded the highest number of hardcore poor population of 62,930 families based on eKasih data as of Feb 15, both DTTAS and DNC pointed out that there is an imbalance in terms of regional development.
“Sarawak is now officially recognised as a partner of Peninsular Malaysia with the effective amendment to clause (2) of Article 1 and clause (2) and 160 (2),” they emphasised.
With the Bill coming into force, the associations said it will provide benefits that can clarify the position of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation in accordance with MA63 and give recognition to the agreement in the Federal Constitution.
As equal partners in the formation of Malaysia, they said that all shares in the revenue should be divided based on several factors which includes the contribution of Sarawak, to the national finances including the income received by the federal government through the exploitation of the state’s natural resources and the revenue received from taxes in Sarawak.