Rm18 Million For Sabah Natural Disaster Relief Is Too Little Says Dcm
Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan (second right) assessing the work completed so far under the Moyog River integrated river basin development project in Penampang. (DCM office pic)KOTA KINABALU: Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan is hoping more funds for natural disaster relief efforts will be provided to the state, on top of the RM18 million channelled initially.
Declining to speculate why the federal government had only given RM18 million to Sabah when Kedah flood victims got RM78 million, Kitingan stressed that Sabah needed more funds.
“There could be a reason for it but hopefully it’s because this (RM18 million) is the immediate need so they (federal government) are giving this first,” he told reporters after assessing the flood situation in Penampang near here today.
“Perhaps in another one or two weeks, they will top up the allocation and hopefully we will get more than what Kedah did because Sabah is bigger, we have more rain and the natural disasters are larger in scale.”
Kitingan was asked about the furore by netizens who compared the gulf between the allocations received by Sabah and Kedah, both of which were hit by floods.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had announced the allocation yesterday, totalling RM18,241,250, to be channelled through the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).
Last month, Ismail announced that the government would allocate RM78 million to help those affected in the Kedah floods, with priority for infrastructure repair and immediate cash assistance to those whose homes were damaged.
DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin had earlier today slammed the allocation to Sabah, contending that only RM2 million of the RM18 million would go towards helping flood victims in Sabah.
Ismail had said RM16 million would be for Covid-19 operations management.
The rest of the money, he said, was meant to purchase 2,000 food kits worth RM160,000 and 2,500 tents worth RM961,250. Another RM20,000 will go to the state disaster operations management committee.
A total of RM1.1 million will be channelled to the 22 district-level disaster operations management committees.
Kitingan, who is also Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president, said he understood why the people were disappointed.
“Our problems are tall like hills and we need to level those hills using machines but instead we are given hoes – how are we to use that? It is the same with our natural disasters, they are bigger.
“So, this is my plea to the federal government to consider adding on to the funds,” said the Keningau MP.
Asked on Ismail’s announcement over the RM9 billion development funds to Sabah and Sarawak yesterday, Kitingan said he was “very happy with it”, but felt the state should be given a budget appropriate to its contribution to the federal coffers.
“We want our financial rights as enshrined under the constitution to be honoured which is 40% of the net revenue derived by the federal government from the state.
“For example, if the government collects RM60 billion from Sabah annually, it means that we are entitled to RM24 billion.
“The RM9 billion to be shared between Sabah and Sarawak, is peanuts compared to that,” he said.
“We are not asking for more than what we deserve. We need the money to develop the state.”
On the flood situation, he said the state was unable to complete the Moyog River integrated river basin development project because only RM281 million of the promised RM481 million had been channelled by the federal government to Sabah thus far.
He said, when completed, the project would be able to mitigate the flooding problem in Penampang, Putatan and parts of the state capital.
Besides that, he said the authorities are unable to remove the electricity poles in the river or relocate residents living there.
“All of this needs money,” he said.
“The next monsoon is expected towards the year end and the people will be further burdened if this project is not completed. We don’t want them to be angry at us,” he said, while warning of more severe floods ahead. - FMT
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