Debate speech by Dr. Hiew King Cheu in Parliament on Thursday, 21st October 2010:
Debate speech on Budget 2011
Terima Kasih, Datuk Yang Di Pertua,
The people in Sabah view the Budget 2011 as an "election budget" which indicated a general perception that there will be another year of disappointment and empty hope. The allocation of RM9.55 billion shared between Sabah and Sarawak is a demonstration that the East Malaysian states are not important and where is the 1-Malaysia spirit the BN talk so much on.
Sabah and Sarawak contributed as much as 42% of the country's overall revenue and we get in return some petty money only 8% of the total budget. This is not fair and Sabah and Sarawak are being treated unfairly, and are we the second class states and of no important to the country? What about our contribution to the national coffer? The federal government can not just take and not give.
In the past, we have seen budget after budget with big figures, but during the process is only cut, cut, cut. Last year the government announced a huge cut in the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) fund allocated to the Interior of Sabah, is a good example. The development projects in Sabah under the national budget are either stagnant or on stop work, and news on none payment are common sight. This demonstrated the malfunction in the administration of the BN, especially in the fund management for the whole Malaysia.
Sabah and Sarawak are not to be taken for granted, do not forget under the Malaysia Agreement we are the partners of one-third standing and not as the one-thirteen. We are claiming only what is ours and our rights have to be honored fully, otherwise the agreement is meaningless and here I can say Sabahan and Sarawakian are not happy at all towards this kind of treatment received. We are just asking to be treated fairly and be respected as a partner. Just to remind the BN, BN supporters and members are also suffering too, they too also complained.
In Sabah, we still insist that we should review the percentage of sharing on the Oil and Gas production set in the agreement granted to Petronas. The percentage of 5% is practically out of date and it does not work with the current situation. Since the signing of the Petronas agreement, Sabah had received only a small figure of RM5.30 billion on the 5% over the 40 years of oil and gas production. When we compared to the total that we give to the national coffer, it is a figure of almost RM 120 billion. This 5% figure is insignificant when compared to the huge fund needed for the development of Sabah, and it won't help to push our economy. That is why the Sabah economy is falling to a dangerous level, with not enough federal funding, no foreign investors, no strong industries, no productive agriculture, not enough tourism emphasis etc.
The Sabahan are losing hope and confident in the country, and we see people migrating and seek shelter in oversea countries. They bring not only the Malaysian ringgit but also good brains from Sabah and Malaysia. Sabah is losing much on human capital and money, and that is why Sabah has drop to become the second poorest state in Malaysia from the richest state in the past. The poverty rate in Sabah is as high as 23.4% is a strong indicator, and yet the government is still promising to eradicate poverty completely by the date that we all think is only empty talk (NATO).
Why in this Budget, the government is putting up a 100 storey building in Kuala Lumpur city centre with our money spending of RM billions? Why can't they think of Sabah and Sarawak and let the 100 storey building to be built in Sabah and Sarawak? The Petronas twin tower, we can say it is the Sabah and Sarawak money, and we can claim one tower each. It is not logical and not fair to utilize the public to embark on the mega project like this. We will think this as a project for the colonies. The same goes to the up grading work in the Karambumai Resort where the budget sated a sum of Rm3 billion to up grade the resort and its environment and infrastructure. The Nexus Karambumai Resort is given another Rm100 million to up grade its facilities. What is the reason and rational that the government pumping such fund, whereby the particular resort is a public listed company and even the few thousand acres of land is a piece of rented land under the sourventy right of the Burnei Sultanate. The Sabah government enactments, by-laws and ordinances are not even effective on this piece of special land.
On the RM 110 million allocations for the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), it is not even enough to build the "entrance door" for the corridor, let alone the work on the corridor. This had been all the while figure announcement only to please the Sabahan, and this is something we dislike. There is a famous Chinese saying "We hear sound from the corridor and we see no people coming". The interior folks in the heart of Sabah are strong BN supporters, and today they have been ill treated with the highest poverty rate, serious lack in infrastructure development, no water, no power, no roads and even no tele-communication. What is the use of giving away free lap-top to the kampong folks where they have no power and no Internat services.
The building of rural roads in Sabah and Sarawak is allocated with a sum of RM 2.1 billion and this is a figure which is far too little. If we divide the figure equally, each can only get less the RM 1.05 billion. How many kilometers of rural roads can be built? It is very "costly" to build kampong roads nowadays, because the inflated contract amount, high price of materials, corruption money and worst of all negotiated contract sum with the plus, plus, plus. A hundred thousand job can become a million ringgit job. The BN government is practicing direct award and negotiated tenders, which gives rise to abuses and corrupt practices.
Sabah water and electricity is already a long time headache for the Sabahan, both in the urban, sub urban and in the rural areas. In Kota Kinabalu itself, there are still more hundreds of kampongs depending on wells, gravity feed untreated water from the hills and Pulau Gaya just a few kilometer across the sea in front of KK city with a population of a thousand people is still using boats to ferry water from the main land. The same situation goes to the Penampang district where many kampongs still have no clean water supply. They are worst hit during the drought seasons. The allocation on the Kimanis 300 MW Combined Diesel and Gas power plant is being given RM1.0 billion by the government. To our understanding, and through the announcement made by the government, this is a joint-venture project undertaken and financed by the Petronas and Yayasan Sabah jointly. What is the rational and logic that the government has to give them a huge sum of RM1.0 billion? If there is the case, why can't the government grant the money to Sabah for some other purposes, and let the IPP partners sort out their own financing for the power plant project. After all, the IPP plant owner will bill us the electricity bills later any way.
The Housing assistance program for the people in Sabah and Sarawak with this allocation of RM300 million is not enough and actually much below the requirement. In Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, and even in Merotai, many people still have no house of their own, and they have to live in rented houses. The high housing selling prices pushed more people to rent because they can't afford to buy houses. The government's promise to the people that everyone shall have their own house is just another cheap publicity and empty promises. The people say that it is disheartening to see that there will be another round of disappointment and have to wait for a long time for their dream house.
I have not enough time to cover every issue and aspects on this budget that is affecting the Sabahan and Sarawakian, but with this I express and register the felling of the Sabahan, that I do not support the proposed budget 2011 due to its unfairness to our East Malaysian states.
* Dr Hiew King Cheu, MP for Kota Kinabalu