SAPP: RM 60 billion stimulus not fair to SabahKota Kinabalu, Mar 13, 2009: SAPP finds it most amusing that the Chief Minister of Sabah speaks about asking for more funds only after the stimulus budget has been tabled in Parliament. Each time a federal budget had been tabled, the State BN leaders automatically and loyally heaped praises on the Finance Minister of the day without actually seeing whether the budget provisions are fair to Sabah and the people.
Speaking on the RM60 billion economic stimulus package, SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee said that SAPP is monitoring its progress to make sure that Sabah is not cheated.
“For instance, out of the ringgit 60 billion, only 1.2 billion is allocated for infrastructure in Sabah and Sarawak. If Sabah and Sarawak share equally, then Sabah gets only 600 million in the next 2 years. This is only 1% of the 60b allocations which is an insult to the people of Sabah,” Yong added.
“It is yet to be seen how the billions will benefit Sabah and the people. For instance, the Ringgit 5,000 discount given to car owners who exchange their old cars for Proton and Perodua under the auto-scrapping scheme is applicable only in Peninsula Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak are excluded from this scheme. We demand that this discrimination against proton and perodua car buyers in the Borneo states be scrapped immediately.
“This discrimination is an added insult to injury because proton and perodua cars sold in Sabah are already more expensive by RM 1,900.00 to RM 2,200.00 per unit than those sold in Peninsula Malaysia. Why should proton owners in Sabah continue to subsidise proton owners in Peninsula Malaysia?
“The 60 billion ringgit should also have been used to stimulate the Sabah economy by reducing the high freight charges caused by the artificial cabotage policy imposed by the Federal Government to protect shipping companies. This cabotage policy has caused prices of imported goods to be much higher than necessary. Since the Federal Government wants to protect ship owners at the expense of overall economy, then the Federal government should be fair and subsidize freight charges to Sabah.
“If the Federal Government can subsidize KL road users to the tune of RM287 million at the North-South Expressway, Sprint Highway, Ampang Elevated Highway, Sungei Besi Highway and New Pantai Expressway, why can’t the government practice fairness in subsidizing Sabah’s higher costs of living caused by the cabotage policy? Why subsidise KL highway companies and not shipping companies?
“In the interior areas, where the people are the poorest, food and other necessities cost much more due to transportation. The rural economy needs stimulation by way of subsidies in transportation.
“SAPP had spoken against the cooking oil subsidy that mostly Sabah oil palm producers have had to subsidise other Malaysian consumers to the tune of RM 700 million from 2007 to 2008. Both Sabah and Sarawak together have also been subsidizing the Bernas rice monoploly at RM 400 million per annum for more than 10 years. This was stopped only in June last year after SAPP protested in public. If the Federal Government had used this funds to promote local padi planting, then we would have achieved self-sufficiency in padi production. Instead, we are subsidizing an UMNO-controlled Bernas monopoly to import rice.
“Consumers in Sabah have been bearing the higher costs of products such MAS air fares, news print, electricity tariffs and all types of imported goods. Such man made policies have had dragged down the Sabah economic performance for decades to the extent that Sabah is now more and more dependant on the federal charity.
“Rural people and some east coast towns also cannot receive the RTM1, RTM2 TV3 and NTV7. Hence, the few people who can afford have to use their meager income to pay for media and news via ASTRO, while the poor are denied their right to information. The government must build television transmission towers in these rural areas without delay.
“SAPP is also disappointed that none of the 60 billion is meant for a general hospital in Kota Kinabalu city or an elevated railway to solve the problems caused by the Petagas railway line that has cut off thousands of people from the main Petagas road.
“Many districts in Sabah are crying out for desperately needed funds such as the Sandakan electric power generation plants and the Tawau port and barter trade centre. The people of Lahad Datu are not impressed by the new KL Low Cost Airport costing RM 2 billion and the 50% rebate on airport landing charges amounting to more than RM 100 m. This is because the 9th Malaysia plan Lahad Datu Airport project was shelved. The Kota Kinabalu/Lahad Datu MAS wing fare is one of the highest per mile in the world.
“SAPP considers the second stimulus package as being unfair to Sabah and does not help to stimulate the Sabah economy.” said Yong.
Kota Kinabalu, Mar 3, 2009: Sabah has to wait a little longer for a new general hospital despite the urgency of the matter, as there is no budget for it under the current Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“We have agreed in principle to a new hospital, but we cannot say when it will be implemented,” Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad told reporters Monday after launching a pre-school food safety campaign.
He was asked about plans to overcome severe congestion at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here after its eight-storey tower block was closed due to structural problems. Patients were relocated to other hospitals in the state.
“We are still waiting for the budget from the Finance Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit,” he said.