Hajiji: Sabah can form select committee on conservation deal if it's needed for transparency

KOTA KINABALU: A select committee to look into the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) deals and terms can be set up if there is a need, for the sake of transparency, says Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said the NCA was still far from sealed, let alone being implemented because of the many terms that had yet to be decided on both by Sabah and the consultant’s part.

"Just now Senallang assemblyman Datuk Shafie Apdal suggested for a select committee to be set up so that the deals and terms of the NCA can be fine-tuned," he said.

"If there is a need, it will be set up so that there is transparency in its implementation," Hajiji told the state assembly on Thursday (Dec 9).

He hoped the NCA deal would go through for the future of Sabah and its people, be it for income generation or other benefits.

"If this deal goes well, allowances and allocations will increase but of course it has to be managed properly to succeed," he added.

In this respect, Hajiji announced a RM2mil development allocation for all government-held state seats in Sabah next year.

He said for areas under the Opposition, mechanisms would be thought out as to how to allocate funds for their development needs.

"We understand that every constituency has its own development needs so we will see how to also distribute the money to Opposition-held seats," he said in response to Phoong Jin Zhe’s (PH-Luyang) request for fair distribution of funds regardless of political affiliation.

Earlier, in his winding-up speech, Hajiji touched on issues regarding tax and revenue.

He said the government had no plans to do away with existing tax collections, but was willing to listen to input from industries regarding collection mechanisms and other matters that could help in generating income.

On petroleum tax, he said the government would consider implementing it on petroleum products and by-products if the need arises.

He said although there was an increase in tax collection mainly from petroleum sales tax, it was the duty of the government to ensure adequate financial reserves for future use.

He said the 2022 state Budget was drawn up based on balancing ministerial needs and Sabah's financial capacity.

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