There are a lot of discussions about federal-state relations, especially with respect to Sabah and Sarawak. But I find those discussions and the points stressed are really hard to pin down in terms of numbers. So, I am putting the following chart up, mostly for my own purpose, and perhaps, also for the make benefit for glorious people of the benefit of others interested in the debate.

Here is a chart presenting all the federal grants paid by the federal government to all the 13 states in Malaysia:


I obtained them from the federal government’s Anggaran Perbelanjaan Persekutuan 2015 document that was released on Budget Day last week. If you are interested in it, the figures can be found in Annex E of the document.

I apologize for the colors.

I have to highlight that this chart contains only grants. Things like petroleum royalties are not included because those are paid by Petronas, not the federal government.

And this of course presents only one side of the story. It would be interesting to collate all of government spending as well as income that went to/came from each state. Then we can calculate the balance. By doing so, we can know which state is the net recipient or contributor in this federation of ours. That perhaps could back any argument with some kind of data rather than merely strong beliefs. The exercise may sound simple, as if it involves just going through the government accounts. But federal spending can be so distributed among ministries and various bodies that essentially are linked back to the government that tracking them can be a real challenge.

That said, the relationship we maintain in this federation goes beyond fiscal matters. Just do not be too fixed on the economics. I think it is safe to say that economics is not nearly everything there is in life.

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