KOTA KINABALU: The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS)-led state government is open-minded and will consider any useful and constructive suggestion for the betterment of Sabah, says Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
The Chief Minister said issues such as the need for decentralisation, delegation of power and to continue fighting for rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) would be considered and pursued where possible.
"Issues including the perennial illegal immigrant woes, MA63, health, statelessness and welfare assistance programmes are on our radar," he said during his winding-up speech during the state assembly sitting here on Monday (Nov 16).
These issues were aired by Upko's Kadamaian assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick and Umno's Usukan assemblyman Datuk Salleh Said Keruak during debates on the government policy speech that was read by head of state Tun Juhar Mahiruddin during the opening of the Sabah state assembly meeting on Nov 12.
He said these issues were close to the hearts of all Sabahans and needed to be looked into for their sake.
"Although we need time to solve these complicated problems – especially on illegal immigrants and MA63 matters – we will try our best," he said.
Earlier, Ewon asked about the rationale behind the reduction in special grants to Sabah when in the previous budget allocation, the Federal Government announced that it would pay RM53.4mil in special grants to the state but this time, only RM26.7 is allocated.
He also called for the state government to continue pushing for what is owed to Sabah according to MA63 now that the state and Federal Government are aligned.
Salleh, on the other hand, pointed out issues such as digital poverty, the need to improve the e-Kasih system, proper economic planning amid the Covid-19 pandemic and cooperation between state and federal governments.
He also emphasised on how Sabah should be given the power to manage its own development funds from the state governments.
Meanwhile, the assembly approved for an additional allocation of over RM709mil for the various economic revival programmes and to cover for losses in taxes incurred amid the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
Among the departments and agencies that will be paid are the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri, State Legislative Assembly, various district offices and various state ministries.