Akhbar Atas Talian No 1 Borneo

The more the merrier, said Jeffrey


PARTY Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) welcomes any political parties to join the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition because this will only strengthen the coalition.

Its President Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said GRS has received applications from a number of local political parties interested becoming part of the coalition.

“Right now, we are divided. We have too many political parties competing with one another. The major reason for the formation of GRS is to bring together the leaders, and ultimately the people under one umbrella.

“however, there are still far too many political parties in Sabah. We must learn to unite and work together. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse those who have applied to be a part of GRS; we should welcome them. Rather than making them our competitors, we should collaborate with them,” he said in his speech at the launching of the Jelajah GRS here today.

The event was officiated by GRS Chairman and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor. Also present were presidents of GRS component parties namely PUnited Sabah National Organisation (USNO) President Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Deputy President Datuk Seri Dr. Yee Moh Chai and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Deputy President Japiril Suhaimin.

Earlier in his speech, the Deputy Chief Minister said GRS will continue to demand equality for Sabah particularly in the wealth distribution among the Malaysia’s three regions, namely Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.

“Keningau, for example, is larger than Penang, Malacca and Perlis combined. Yet, we only have one parliamentarian and three assemblymen. The three states have a total of 26 MPs and 83 assemblymen.

“Say for example, one MP is allocated RM10 million, the three states that are smaller than Keningau, will receive RM260 million while we are only allocated RM10 mil. If one assemblyman is given a RM1 million development fund, they will receive RM83 million, as opposed to our RM3mil.

“Is it then any wonder, given the huge disparity in fund distribution, that why we are still lagging well behind these other Malayan states?” he said.

Kitingan said the problem with Sabah is its over-reliance on the federal government for funds, a problem which prompted the GRS government to explore leveraging its key resources under its control such as land and forest.

He said that the GRS government is confident that carbon trading through its 2million hectare of rainforest will potentially bring in up to RM8 billion per year into the region’s coffers.

“Once we have our own funds, I am confident we will be able to speak louder and the federal government will listen to our demands, particularly our financial rights,” he said.

He also called on the federal government to come up with a new basis for allocating development budgets after Sabah and Sarawak allocated ‘peanuts’ every year.

Out of the RM200.9billion development funds in the federal budget between 2020 and 2022, Sabah and Sarawak were only given RM29billion, roughly 14% of the total development funds.

“Since Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya are now recognised as ‘Wilayah’ of equal status, this should be adopted as the new basis for allocating development budgets. Unfortunately, Sabah and Sarawak are each treated as one unit (one component State) whereas Malaya is counted as 11 units.

“So they get 11/13 while the Bornean States only gets 1/13 each,” he said.


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