Government allocations based on needs 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.
A RM2 billion increase in 2022 Budget allocations for Sabah, Sarawak, bumis and non-bumis will help to unite Malaysia and prove that Keluarga Malaysia is not an empty slogan. Giving the four critical sectors an extra RM500 million each or an additional RM2 billion Budget allocations amounts to 0.1% of the Budget deficit.
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% this year and 6% next year, but may be critical to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. 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% of the population and they are more poor bumis.
PAS continues to use racism and extremism as political weapons to gain support by rejecting allocations to non-bumis. PAS ignores the unhappiness of non-bumis that despite making up 30% of the population, they received only RM345 million or 0.1% of the 2022 Budget of RM332 billion. DAP does not object to the RM11.4 billion allocation for bumis but urges more and fairer allocations for both 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.
There is no doubt that in percentage terms, Sabah and Sarawak received less under the 2022 Budget as compared to PH’s 2020 Budget. Development expenditure in the 2022 Budget 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 the 2020 Budget.
In other words, Sabah was worse off in receiving 6.9% of development expenditure under the 2022 Budget as compared to 9.3% under PH’s 2020 Budget. If Sabah were to be given the same 9.3% of development expenditure in the 2022 Budget that PH had provided for in the 2020 Budget, then Sabah should be receiving RM7 billion and not RM5.2 billion in the 2022 Budget.