KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Government must ensure Sabah and Sarawak, as equal partners, get the same level of development as the peninsula, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.
The Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, who was also Kinabatangan MP, said the people of Sabah and Sarawak want commitment from the Federal government to develop the regions equally.
"As equal partners, there must be an equal development. But now, the development in the peninsula is far more advanced than in Sabah and Sarawak," he said while debating the bill to amend the Federal Constitution on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Giving the example of travel within the peninsula, Bung said a 600km drive would take about three to four hours.
"However, in Sabah, a journey of 200km will take five to six hours.
"So the MA63 agreement will be meaningless if the Federal government does not find a new approach to develop Sabah and Sarawak properly," he said.
He also urged the Federal government to let Sabah and Sarawak manage the allocation funding themselves.
"Please give it to the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak instead of distributing it to Federal agencies.
"The budget last year has yet to be fully utilised but the allocation has gone.
"Please find a new, better approach. The Finance Minister, Prime Minister and other relevant ministers must collaborate and discuss how to provide development in Sabah," he said.