Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should get at least RM12 billion from the second economic stimulus package announced by the Government on Tuesday, said MP Hiew King Cheu.
He said it was only right that the money be shared pro-rata according to population or based on national revenue contribution.
“How much of the RM60 billion is going to be used in Sabah? We need the money and we do not want to hear any more empty promises from the Barisan Nasional government again,” he said in a statement, Wednesday.
Under the package a sum of RM1.2 billion is to be allocated to Sabah and Sarawak. But Hiew said the government’s contention that it will continue to ensure priority is given to “protecting the welfare of the people and that none is marginalised” was easier said than done.
“The people in Sabah and Sarawak did not get equal and fair treatment (and) we have been forgotten. We have the highest poverty rate up to 24 per cent compared to the peninsula (aside from) having bad roads, bad hospitals, undeveloped water and electricity supply, high unemployment rate and no industrial development.
“The Federal Government does not care about us in Sabah and Sarawak, despite the states being the biggest contributors to the national income and revenue.”
Touching on reduction of foreign workers in Sabah, Hiew said the Prime Minister and his Cabinet should have a feel of the situation in the State before making any decision.
“I would advise the Prime Minister and his Ministers to come to Sabah to stay for a while to understand the situation better. The steps mentioned are not workable for the Sabah situation, especially on the priority in hiring local workers.
“The levy to be paid by employers and not the foreign workers, will further burden the employers É the best solution is to reduce the levy in Sabah.” He also baulked at the government’s attempt to eradicate hardcore poverty in Sabah.
“There had been talk about it many times in the past (but) the hardcore poor had become even poorer. Now the Government is setting a new date to eliminate hardcore poverty by 2010 É can they do this in just one year?
“The subsidies, incentives and assistance will not help these people to get out of poverty, definitely not in one year,” Hiew pointed out.
On another matter, while he welcomed the additional RM300 million for improvement of school facilities in government-aided religious schools, national type, Tamil schools and Mission schools, he was again sceptical if any substantial amount from the allocation will ever see its way to Sabah.
He also felt the same about the attention to basic amenities in the rural districts in Sabah. “How much are we going to get from the total of RM230 million for water and electricity, and RM350 million for rural roads,” he asked.
Apart from that, Hiew was doubtful Sabahans can afford to buy new cars in order to receive the RM5,000 discount under the auto-scrapping scheme for Proton and Perodua cars.
“In Sabah, many of our cars are old, our people are poor, jobless and many cannot afford to change their 10-year-old cars. How can they take up the offer? By doing so, they will suffer further in struggling to pay the monthly installments.
“This proposal only benefits Proton and Perodua. The poor people would prefer the government to give them the money to repair or make good their cars.”
On the windfall profit levy imposed on the palm oil industries in Sabah, the threshold value of RM 3,000 per tonne is satisfactory, he said.
“In Sabah, we pay a higher cost when compared to the peninsula, therefore, Sabahans are requesting the sales tax imposed on the CPO to be adjusted from the present threshold of RM1,000 to RM 2,000.”
Meanwhile, Hiew wants to see how the Government intends to bring back investors to Sabah.
“In Sabah, we have not seen foreign investors coming to seek business opportunities for many years now. The Japanese, Koreans, Germans and others had pulled out their Sabah investments many years ago.
“They no longer see investing in Sabah as viable É how is the government going to invite the foreign investors to Sabah?
“Without them coming, it is impossible to create jobs, economic growth and prosperity in Sabah. Our natural resources are running out, nothing on land, in the sea and underground resources are almost gone. What happens after that?,” he asked, adding the Government must come up with suitable plans to attract the investors