Budget omits specifics on Sabah: Yong
Kota Kinabalu, Oct 27, 2009: The drop of RM13.7 billion in Federal revenue for 2010
compared to 2009 is a clear sign that the economic productive base of the
country has diminished, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk
Yong Teck Lee.
He said this was caused partly by a loss of confidence among the business
community, the continued reduction in FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) and
a weak delivery system.
He said it was already common knowledge that Malaysia has been losing out to
new manufacturing giants like Vietnam, emerging agricultural power houses
like Indonesia and high-tech economies like Singapore and Korea.
"With a bloated bureaucracy and wastages in the public sector such as those
abuses highlighted in the annual Auditor-General Report, this trend of a
shrinking revenue base will make it more difficult for the Government to
fulfil their unrestrained pledges of billions of ringgit of projects
everywhere in Malaysia.
"If petrol prices had not held steadily at an average of US$70, then the
Government's loss of revenues could have been more acute," he said.
At the same time, Yong said the National 2010 Budget did not address the
concerns of the people of Sabah.
"It is scary that the Prime Minister has completely omitted to mention the
crisis at Sabah's referral hospital (the QEH) in the State capital, which
has been closed down for a almost a year now.
"RM14.8 billion was budgeted for health. Hospital upgrading and construction
will begin in 2010 in Kluang, Bera, Shah Alam, Alor Gajah and Tampoi.
"(But) Kota Kinabalu's QEH is forgotten. We hope this can be redressed when
the Prime Minister comes to Sabah on Nov 8. It is the responsibility of our
State Government to highlight this crisis to the Prime Minister," he said.
Yong said out of the RM5 billion that Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) is getting
for electricity generation and distribution, no mention was made of
hydro-power projects or other forms of non-coal energy sources in Sabah.
"Only Pahang and Terengganu are mentioned. Does this RM5 billion include the
controversial billion ringgit coal power plant that the Prime Minister has
announced to be located in Felda Tungku, Lahad Datu in Sabah?
"If yes, then does this mean that the Government will push ahead with the
coal power plant even before EIA and consultations with the people are
"If not, then how much of the RM5 billion will be spent on Sabah's
electricity requirements? The budget makes no mention of the natural gas
pipeline to the Petronas LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) plant in Bintulu and
its loss to Sabah. Neither is there any reference to the use of natural gas
for electricity generation in Sabah," he said.
Yong said Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were given top priority to benefit from
the RM11.3 billion investment in High Speed Broad Band (HSBP).
However, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, like Penang, already have nearly 100 per
cent broad band penetration, while Sabah's broad band penetration is only
about 20 per cent.
"It is an irony that priority is given to the states which already have very
high penetration rates. The RM50 incentive to students and RM500 tax relief
to tax payers for broad band subscription is hollow since our access to
broadband in Sabah is so limited anyway," he said.
Therefore, he said the Government should invest more of the RM11.3 billion
in Sabah without delay.
Another issue, he said, was the development of padi plantations in Sabah,
especially in Kota Belud, which was not mentioned in spite of numerous
promises by State and Federal Ministers that Kota Belud's rice plains will
be turned into a major rice producer in the State.
"In contrast, RM70 million is specially allocated to the Paya Peda dam in
Terengganu for the Besut padi irrigation scheme, with another RM 137 million
to upgrade drainage and irrigation schemes," he said.
As for the RM 899 million for railways, he said the people of Petagas were
still waiting for a solution to the closure of access roads necessitated by
a small budget to re-build Borneo's only railway.
Tawau's traders with Indonesia are anxious to see how much, if any, of the
RM820 million for ports will be used to improve their debilitating barter
trade and ports services at Tawau port.
The Prime Minister also announced that RM276 million will be used for
airport projects. The people of Lahad Datu are still waiting for the
pre-election promise of the BN government to start building a new airport
According to Yong, the Prime Minister is reviving the Goods and Services Tax
(GST) that his predecessor had budgeted about five years ago but failed to
SAPP had, at the time, prepared its position paper to share the GST between
the local authorities concerned, the State government and the Federal
"Local authorities, especially, should get 50 per cent of the GST because it
is the local authorities that licence and enforce these businesses in their
"By allowing the local authorities, like district councils, to benefit from
the GST, it will also encourage the district councils to be more business
friendly and attract economic activities to the their districts.
Ultimately, this system of sharing the GST will benefit local people all
over the country," he said.
Quoted from DE