Abg Jo: Special grant to Sarawak must be based on revenue-sharing formula
Posted on : 05 May 2022  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari speaks to reporters at the Aidilfitri gathering. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (May 5): Sarawak is adamant that the annual special grant from the federal government under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution be based on a formula tied to the country’s financial situation, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Sarawak Premier said his principle is that if the country is doing well financially, the revenue must then be shared with the state.

“We (Sarawak) are very practical and pragmatic. When you (Putrajaya) make money, you share based on a formula. If the country is not doing well (financially), we share the burden together,” he told reporters at the Gedong Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri gathering, held at a hotel here today.

Informing that the formula for Sarawak’s annual grant is still being negotiated, he said the federal government should not fix a set amount but base it on an agreed revenue-sharing formula.

“The state government must also be concerned about the financial position of the federal government.

“If the national revenue is less, then the grant (for Sarawak) is less. In the event the financial performance is good, the grant also must be good.”

Abang Johari also said he had previously put forward the use of a formula to determine the special grant to the then Finance Minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration, but nothing came from it.

On the Sabah government’s agreement last month to receive a nearly five-fold increase in its 2022 special grant – from RM26.7 million to RM125.6 million – and subsequent yearly increase for the period between 2023 and 2026 based on the rate mutually agreed by both parties, Abang Johari said: “Sabah is Sabah. We are Sarawak. I’m different.”

The special grant, he reiterated, must be based on a certain formula.

“You can’t simply give (the grant) like you are giving chickens,” the Premier said, adding no offer on the special grant amount was made to him during last month’s meeting between the state and federal governments due to his insistence that it be based on a formula.

“If the country makes more, we share. If they are not doing well, how can you also ask for more? It’s not fair, right? So there must be a formula,” he said.