KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak want to know the formula used in the allocation of the Special Federal Grants in Budget 2020 given to the two Borneo states.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and his Sarawak counterpart Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg voiced their interest to understand how the amount was reached by the Finance Ministry.
Under Budget 2020, Sabah was allocated RM53.4mil while Sarawak received RM34mil in a Special Federal Grant under the constitutional guarantees of the Federation.
The amount was doubled for the first time in Budget 2020 since 1969.
"We are thankful to the Finance Ministry for the allocations meant for Sabah, and we could do with more.
"We would like to know the formula that the Ministry used to calculate the figure for the special federal allocation," Shafie said.
"We did raise the issue of the Federal Grant at MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) committee meeting. We are thankful, although it is not the amount we expected," Shafie said.
When asked about Lim's statement that Sarawak was never happy with the allocated budget, Abang Johari said that the government must be rational when disbursing funds to the different states and their needs for developments.
He said that it should reflect the needs of the big states and not compared to other states like Perlis.
"If you compare by states and we are a big state, so it is not fair," Abang Johari said.
He said Sarawak was finding and funding its own projects for schools and other needs due to lack of federal funds.
He said they understood the financial constraints of the Federal Government but hoped they did not forget the needs of the two states.
"Kalau susah sama susah, senang sama senang. Jangan lupa bila senang (together we go through bad and good times. But don't forget us in good times), he said when reflecting on the current Federal Government's financial constraints.
Abang Johari said he was also working closely with Sabah to work towards getting what is due in terms of revenue.
Shafie said both leaders also discussed issues related to the oil and gas industry along with other matters related to MA63.
"In terms of economy and resources such as the oil and gas, Sarawak was far ahead of Sabah in the downstream industry.
"I think Sabah has more crude oil but yes we are looking at better ways to develop our states," he said.
Shafie also said that matters pertaining to the 20% oil royalty, which was not touched in the Budget 2020, will be raised later.