KOTA KINALU: A transparent and inclusive mechanism is required to effectively implement the 40 percent special grant of Sabah revenue collected by the Federal government.
Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick emphasised the significance of this mechanism in balancing the annual development allocations received by the state from the federal government with the special grant amount.
He mentioned that the formula is already in place; however, the mechanism requires further refinement.
“The crucial question is whether Sabahans are willing to embrace a decrease in development allocation while compensating with a 40 percent increase in special grant. Are we prepared to move in that direction?
Ewon told reporters after launching the Coffee Cactus Inanam Traders’ Cooperative (KOUPIO) event, which coincided with the parliamentary initiative to promote and support cooperative efforts in Inanam, near here today.
He said that the Customs Department in Sabah collects revenue from direct taxes, while taxes on companies operating in Sabah that are registered in Kuala Lumpur are collected directly in Kuala Lumpur.
Ewon emphasised that the approval or consensus of the Sabah government is necessary for the matter of special grants.
“At the UPKO level, the party will hold a round table discussion to determine the most effective mechanism for implementing the 40 percent special grant to Sabah.
“We will engage experts in accounting, taxation, auditing, and former magistrates in these discussions. Subsequently, we will present the recommended mechanism to the state and federal governments for further action next year,” he explained.
“In terms of cooperative development, Ewon said that a total of 723 new cooperatives have been established in the country as of November, including over 100 new ones in Sabah. This indicates a positive response from the people,” he added.
He expressed his support for the KOUPIO Inanam cooperative’s initiative to expand its operations in coffee processing and lemongrass cultivation in the Inanam area.