Development budget for Sabah and Sarawak should be increased by another RM3 bil – Chong

Chong at the press conference in parliament

By S. Harrish

THE RM69 billion development expenditure (DE) in the 2021 Budget should be increased by RM3 billion so that it could be channeled to Sabah and Sarawak.

Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen said he has submitted a motion to the parliament Speaker’s office today for the Budget 2021 to be amended.

He proposed that the RM69 billion DE be increased to RM72 billion and for a new item to be created under the “Anggaran Perbelanjaan Persekutuan’ under the Prime Minister’s Department for the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs.

The Sarawak DAP chief also suggested an additional RM3 billion to be allocated for development projects in Sabah and Sarawak.

“For the 2021 Budget, the total DE has been increased substantially to RM69 billion as compared to the 2020 Budget’s RM56 billion.

“However, the DE allocation for Sabah and Sarawak remains stagnant at RM9.6 billion.

“Percentage-wise, clearly there is a dilution of Sabah and Sarawak’s DE allocation in 2021 Budget. The proportion of DE specific for Sabah and Sarawak out of the total DE has dropped from 17.14 per cent in the 2020 Budget to 13.91 per cent in the 2021 Budget.

“To remedy this shortfall, we would like to propose that an additional RM3 billion of DE be allocated to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said in a press conference at the parliament.

Chong said Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin will second the motion.

When tabling the Budget earlier this month, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said the RM5.1 billion for Sabah and RM4.5 billion for Sarawak was for the construction and upgrading of water and electricity infrastructure, roads, as well as health and educational facilities.