KOTA KINABALU: A political activist and adviser to the Sabah government on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) wants Putrajaya to officially declare the amount of money it owes Sabah under Schedule 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Under Schedule 10, Sabah is entitled to an annual grant of 40% of net revenue derived by the federation from the state.
Zainnal Ajamain said if the government insisted it did not have the money to pay Sabah, the least it could do was to acknowledge the debt.
“Unfortunately, not only have they not done this, they are taking away projects from Sabah and Sarawak giving reasons such as they don’t have money.
“How is it that they have money for Kedah and not Sabah? How is it that now that Sandakan is having a by-election, they have millions suddenly coming in?” he said.
Zainnal, who spoke to FMT after attending the Universiti Malaya Law Society’s forum on Understanding Borneo’s Quest for Equal Partnership in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, said Sabah and Sarawak were only asking for their rights.
For example, he said the two states were in dire need of an efficient transportation system.
He pointed out that despite being the second biggest state in the country, Sabah only had 10,250 km of paved roads.
“In Malaya, they have 131,041km of paved roads and 24,829km of gravel roads. At least, give us more gravel roads,” he said.
Zainnal also dismissed suggestions that Sabah was lagging behind because of the fault of its state leaders in the past.
He said Sabah’s lack of development was mainly due to the policy of the federal government and the lopsided deals handed to both both states.
For example, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), Perlis, the smallest state in Malaysia, received more funding than Sabah, he said.
Sabah’s area of 73,631 sq km is 90 times bigger than Perlis’ 821 sq km and its population is about 15 times that of Perlis.
“Yet, under the 9MP, Perlis received on average RM3.242 million per sq km while Sabah received only RM0.229 million per sq km.
“Sarawak was even worse, receiving only RM0.121 million per sq km.