Sabah looks forward to bigger special grant

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor looks forward to an increase in the Federal special grant so that more people-orientated initiatives can be implemented in Sabah.
Hajiji believed the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysia Family) approach mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob himself could be the right formula to addressing legacy issues between Sabah and the Federation of Malaysia.
Speaking at the Jelajah Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia (JAKM) Sabah edition launched by the Prime Minister at the Sabah International Convention Centre here today, Hajiji said Sabah appreciated the support and strong cooperation from the Federal leadership.
“We are confident that the Malaysia Family approach can strengthen relations, forge understanding and enhance cooperation at all levels including between state and federal,” he said.
According to him, so much progress have been achieved with the latest being an understanding reached between the two parties on April 14 leading to the first step towards resolving the review of the special grant rate under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
“I would like to report to the Prime Minister today that we are returning the additional state revenue acquired from the increment of the special grant rate from RM26.7 million to RM125.6 million direct to the people,” he said.
Hajiji said he had announced that the money will be used to build 1,500 Rumah Mesra SMJ in all 73 State Constituencies in Sabah.
Rumah Mesra SMJ is a new State Government initiative under the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) that shares the Federal’s Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT) programme concept.
“As a matter of fact, the State Government appreciates the Federal Government’s commitment in moving a series of negotiations on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
“All these are still on-going via various platforms coordinated under the MA63 Special Council meeting,” he said.
On another note, Hajiji proposed for a state-federal collaboration that merges the JAKM and Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) programmes at the grassroot level in Sabah.
He said the concept of the initiative could be like a mini carnival to be held at each division or district in the state in stages.
“Such programme is important because it allows us to syncronise the promotion and inculcation of the agenda of both governments to a broader audience at the grassroots level.
“I have said it before that the value and meaning of one government development agenda should not only be heard but it can also be seen and felt by the rakyat across the board,” he said.
Hajiji said the JAKM roadshow exemplified the best way to ensure the people have access to information on the benefits of the government’s various policies, initiatives and programmes.
“The JAKM roadshow is in line with the State Government’s strategy as shown during the recent Halatuju SMJ Showcase to mark its one year anniversary also held in SICC,” he said.
Hajiji reiterated that the Keluarga Malaysia approach is so relevant for Sabah where mutual respect and acknowledgement of the differences as well as diversity are a norm for its people.
The State Government has acknowledged the Keluarga Malaysia approach placing it as a framework to the implementation of the state’s development agenda, he said.

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