Don’t treat Sarawak like a hungry chicken, Putrajaya told
A senior leader in the Sarawak government has asked Putrajaya to reveal how it calculates the special annual grant to the state, saying the Kuching administration resents being treated like a chicken that will eat anything it is given.
(Daily Express) – State tourism, creative industry and performing arts minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Sarawak must have a say in determining the amount.
The grant is a privilege accorded to Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
“How much is to be given by the federal government under this grant is based on the annual taxes and revenue collected from Sarawak,” Karim told FMT.
He complained that the federal government was not disclosing how much was collected in taxes and other revenues.
“That is why the state government is requesting for some Sarawakian representatives to sit on the Inland Revenue Board,” he said.
He also said Sarawak would hold off accepting any amount the federal government would offer under the grant until Putrajaya and the state government had agreed on a formula.
Last month, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Putrajaya’s special grant to Sabah this year would be RM125.6 million, a more than four-fold increase from last year.
Subsequently, Sarawak opposition leader Wong Soon Koh asked state premier Abang Johari Openg to reveal whether the state would also get a bigger amount.
Sarawak was reportedly receiving RM16 million from the Barisan Nasional government until Pakatan Harapan (PH) rose to power and doubled the amount. It was reduced to RM16 million again after the PH government was toppled.
Karim said the RM125.6 million Sabah had agreed to might sound big but this did not resolve the question of how the amount was derived.
“Hopefully, the matter can be finally resolved between the federal and state governments,” he said.
“As the Sarawak premier has stated, the grant should not be decided unilaterally by Putrajaya, and Sarawak should not be treated like a chicken that will accept any fodder thrown to it.”