KOTA KINABALU: A state minister said the Federal Government's Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 should be translated into return of revenue and autonomy to Sabah as enshrined in the Malaysian Agreement 1963 and Federal Constitution.
This, Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick said, was especially the return of two-fifths or 40 per cent net revenue received by the Federal Government from Sabah as provided in Article 112C and the 10th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
"The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet and Dewan Rakyat members having taken their oath have declared to uphold, safeguard and defend the Constitution in discharging their duties. I, myself, took the oath of office as well.
"Therefore, not only it is a moral responsibility, but the duty of the entire Federal cabinet to carry out the oath and pledge. In other words, implement what is contained in the Constitution by returning what is owed to the state," he said.
Similarly, he said the same applied to the five per cent petroleum royalty payment currently received by the Sabah government since signing the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 between the state and Federal Government in 1976.
Benedick said Sabah has shared much of its revenue and resources with other states through the Federal Government since the PDA came into force, and the reimbursement to Sabah has not been reviewed as it should.
He stressed that the state needs 20 per cent oil royalty to assist in developing and improving basic infrastructure such as paved roads, clean water supply, electricity supply, rural social amenities, schools, healthcare services, and telecommunications networks, among others.
"For poverty eradication programmes alone, I've stated in the State Legislative Assembly last April that 75,414 family households across Sabah were registered under the e-Kasih System.
"Of the registered figure, 18,076 were hardcore poor and 20,259 in the poor category, while 37,079 were in the excluded category. Their need is not just for home assistance programmes, but also rural economic activities.
"In other words, Sabah needs its revenue and resources to be restored not only to provide basic infrastructure and economic development, but also to eradicate poverty and enrich the rural folk.
"The shared vision of prosperity should, in my opinion, also translate into the return of administrative autonomy and development management to the state government. I believe this has been, is and will continue to be finalised through the special committee led by the Prime Minister and representatives from Sabah and Sarawak," he added.
Taking the Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT) as an example, Benedick noted that the project development management involves 445 new build units and 1,730 repaired units.
"Of the 455 new build units, only 225 units are executed through state government coordination. The remaining units, including repair units, are implemented by the Federal Government through Giatmara, which Sabah government has received a lot of complaints about.
"I've conveyed what has been decided in the state cabinet to the Federal Rural Development Ministry (KPLB). This includes the process by KPLB in selecting recipients without following the process that has been agreed," he said.