KOTA KINABALU: Several Opposition leaders in Sabah have welcomed the RM100,000 Covid-19 aid announced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, but said they hope that it would be expanded to allow for other uses.
Upko president Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said the announcement that all 31 state assemblymen would get RM100,000 in Covid-19 aid is a good start towards giving fair treatment to all constituencies, including those held by the Opposition.
He said he hopes the state government can enact a legislation that ensures an equitable constituency development fund (CDF) for all assemblymen and MPs regardless of party affiliation.
Currently, the state government gives a state minister an annual allocation of RM2.1mil, an assistant state minister RM1.14mil, and a government backbencher RM1.1mil.
It also gives MPs RM10,000 monthly to maintain their service centres, but the money is channelled to the Bersatu division chairman for 14 Opposition-held constituencies in Sabah and Labuan.
Madius said the RM10,000 should be given to the MPs’ offices regardless of party affiliation.
Kota Kinabalu DAP MP Chan Foong Hin hoped that the Covid-19 aid will eventually be converted into an annual allocation for the Opposition’s elected representatives.
Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew thanked Hajiji for the special allocation of RM100,000 to help the people in their constituencies impacted by the pandemic.
She said she hopes that he would consider topping up the sum once the elected representatives have exhausted the funds in serving
Liew, who is Api-Api assemblyman, asked Hajiji to provide each Opposition assemblyman with the same development funds such as the Perak and Johor state governments have done.
This move, she said, would allow elected representatives to assist the government in the socio-economic development of individual constituencies.
The 31 assemblymen are from the Warisan Plus front which includes Warisan, Upko, DAP and PKR. There are 79 assemblymen in the Sabah state assembly.