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HARAPAN offers better Sabah and Sarawak empowerment package

26 October 2022.

The reluctance of Barisan Nasional (BN) ‘Poster Boy’ Ismail Sabri to publicly commit to BN Chairman Zahid Hamidi’s call for two (2) additional Deputy Prime Ministers (DPM) posts from Sabah and Sarawak signals BN’s insincerity in empowering the regions. Even if the offer finally makes it into BN’s manifesto, it stands as a hollow gesture that will only benefit the few political elites while East Malaysians gain no benefit at all.

In contrast, HARAPAN brings a more holistic package in empowering Sabah and Sarawak. Together with the appointment of a DPM from Sabah and Sarawak, a National Administrative Coordination Council [IF1] (Majlis Penyelarasan Pentadbiran Negara) will be formed to bridge the development gap between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. The appointed DPM will then be empowered to oversee the operations of the council which will be deliberating on matters relating to developmental budget allocations across the three regions.

Secondly, this DPM will be given the authority to monitor federal funded projects in Sabah and Sarawak to reduce the incidence of abandoned projects (projek sakit). Compared to the current arrangement in which the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) is not empowered to such extent, the DPM’s oversight of developmental projects in East Malaysia will increase their urgency and ensure delivery within the stipulated timeline.

Thirdly, HARAPAN will entrust this DPM with the role of safeguarding Sabah and Sarawak rights. The elevation of scope ensures that the interest of Sabahan and Sarawakians will continue to be protected under our administration in addition to restoring their rights as stipulated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

In addition, HARAPAN will also introduce the following measures and reforms as part of our empowerment package:

  • Grants and tax incentives for the relocation of all types of industries, particularly all manufacturing sectors to Sabah and Sarawak, starting with RM1 billion in 2023.

  • Implementing the recommendations of Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.

  1. Ensuring that the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and all 12 documents, especially the IGC, are respected and that any conflict with the original intention of the agreement will be implemented as intended.

  2. Restoring the power to appoint the Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak to the Governor (Yang di-Pertua Negeri) of both regions.

  3. Ensuring 35% of Parliamentary representatives are from Sabah and Sarawak

  • More autonomy for Education and Healthcare matters and increasing access to higher education facilities and specialised healthcare services.

  • Implement 40% revenue sharing for Sabah as intended under section 112C, Section 2 (1) Part IV, 10th Schedule, and for Sarawak, a review of the special grant under 112D, Section 3 of Federal Constitution, for every five years.

  • Safeguarding the rights of Sabah and Sarawak Natives and Indigenous people as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including matters of native customary rights and the establishment of Land Tribunal to handle any disputes.

  • Gazette is a designated free trade zone area in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park, POIC Lahad Datu, and Sipitang Oil & Gas Industrial Park.

BN should know that the decades-worth of injustice that it has caused cannot be put right with a promise of a position alone. Instead, a more meaningful distribution of power and a fairer allocation of resources are needed to ensure these regions can catch up with the developmental advancement experienced in West Malaysia.

It is clear that only HARAPAN has the intention and political will to make this a reality. Together with the various offers in Tawaran HARAPAN that we have in store for East Malaysians, we are set to usher in a new age of prosperity for the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

Chan Foong Hin,

DAP Policy Bureau Chief and incumbent Kota Kinabalu MP

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