Friday, May 9, 2008

Federal Revenue Collected in Sarawak

I had asked the Chief Minister and Minster for Finance the amount of revenue collected in the state by the Police Department, Custom and Excise Department, Inland Revenue Department, Immigration Department, the Road Transport Department and the Judicial Department. It was disclosed that revenue collected by each these federal departments in the state from years 2001-2007 were as follows:-

Police Department - RM62.14 million;
Custom & Excise Department - RM6,378.65 billion;
Inland Revenue Department - RM13,640.07 billion;
Immigration Department - RM830.64 million;
Road Transport Department - RM464.23 million;
Judicial Department - RM55.70 million;

The total revenue collected by these six federal departments for the past seven years totaled RM21,436.43 billion. This amount excludes oil and gas and other amounts collected by many other federal departments in the state. We could therefore see that the Federal Government all these years had been collecting substantial sums from the state. What is important is that in order to accelerate economic growth, the state government should be allowed to retain a certain percentage of these revenues before they go to the Federal Treasury. From the answers given, there was a failure of the state government to take the initiative to negotiate with the Federal Government the retention of parts of these revenues before these revenues go to the Federal Treasury.

The state of Sarawak is more or less the size of West Malaysia and much money is needed to further develop the state. We could not wait for the funds to come back as from past experience it took time. For example, to develop padi plantations in the state in huge scale, until now since independence we still could not realize this dream as funds are controlled by the Federal Government. Only recently it was said that the Federal Government had release RM50 million to the state to develop its padi plantations.

The Federal Government should be made to understand that the Federal Government had taken enough from the state and is time for the Federal Government to come and to provide more fund to the state for its development and that fund must be released within reasonable speed.

Dr. Wong Soon Koh on behalf of the cabinet only said the state has their ways to discuss and negotiate with the Federal government as to how the money should be apportioned. However, seemed it was not disclosed how it should be taken then it could be assumed that there had been no mechanism formulated as to how the negotiation process could be of success and of advantage to the state of Sarawak. We are the property owners and should have the control of our own property and if the federal government be given full right by taking the revenues out from our State first and to allow the state to wait for the Federal Government to give them back this would not only take time but we may not be able to take a good portion back from what we had given away.

This was what happened to our oil and gas and it is very disappointing that until now Sarawak just could only get back 5% of its oil and gas royalties. Until now, we could not have a better bargain to revenues from our oil and gas in the state.

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