KUALA LUMPUR: The government needs to report to Parliament how the RM400 billion allocated for the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) is spent, says Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna).

The Warisan president said the reports should be furnished to the Dewan Rakyat from time to time to ensure accountability and that the funds are spent according to the 12MP’s objectives.

He said Putrajaya’s goal must be to close the income gap between rural and urban communities, different states and territories, as well as the rich and the poor.

“This must be the pillar of our national development. Only by reducing this gap can prosperity be shared fairly among all Malaysians,” he said when debating the 12MP in the Dewan Rakyat today.

“I call on the government to submit periodical reports to Parliament on the billions being spent for the development plan, since the 12MP is the biggest Malaysia Plan in history.

“Every sen spent requires accountability.”

Shafie also urged law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to ensure the remaining four issues pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) are resolved by the government, to ensure the Bornean states can develop well in the next five years.

He lamented that Sabah and Sarawak were lagging behind the peninsular states in development despite their rich natural resources, saying resolving all 21 of the MA63 issues would be the key to overcoming the problem.

Jeffrey Kitingan interjected and asked the former Sabah chief minister what were the 17 issues pertaining to MA63 resolved by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Shafie said this included the PH administration’s decision to increase Sabah’s special grant to RM53 million, from the RM24 million it used to get.

He said other matters included allowing Sarawak to manage its gas distribution and returning the ownership of Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd to the state.

On the optimisation of government-linked company (GLC) funds, Shafie suggested that grounded passenger planes belonging to Malaysia Airlines (MAS) be converted into cargo aircraft to export local goods.

With 28 of 55 MAS’ passenger planes not actively flying, he said, converting these to cargo planes would lead to spillover economic effects, such as the export of fresh food from Sabah and Sarawak to other countries.

“The demand is there and these goods do not have to be quarantined upon arrival like humans,” he said.

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