Selangor Journal
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim answers questions during Minister’s Question Time at the First Meeting of the Second Session of the 15th Parliament sitting at Dewan Rakyat, Kuala Lumpur, on February 21, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Higher allocation for Sabah, Sarawak to ensure equitable development — PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said an increase in Sabah and Sarawak’s allocations under Budget 2024 is due to the disparity in the development of the two states compared with states in the Peninsular.

Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said the disparity when compared to states involves basic amnesties like water supply, electricity, roads, dilapidated schools, and the completion of the Pan Borneo Highway.

“Let us be fair; the allocation for Sabah and Sarawak is certainly high, the highest in history, but can it solve all the problems? Certainly not.

“It will take time, but we need to be fair. Water is a problem in Sabah, we managed to resolve it; we also resolved the water problem in Kelantan.

“If we say water is a problem in Sabah and ignore Kelantan, that is not fair. Therefore, with the available financial resources, we try to be fair and balanced. Just that the problems in Sabah and Sarawak are critical and cannot be delayed,” he said when winding up the Supply Bill 2024 debate for the Ministry of Finance in Dewan Rakyat today.

Every state received a higher allocation in the Budget 2024, including Kelantan, compared with allocations provided for in previous years.

“It does not matter how much additional allocation we can add, including for water supply in Sabah and Kelantan, I must state that Sabah received RM6.6 billion; how much for Perak? RM1.7 billion, Sarawak RM5.8 billion.

“Pahang? RM3.2 billion, Kelantan? now RM2.8 billion, Kedah up by RM1.8 billion, all states were not spared. But for Sabah and Sarawak, we are tied down with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), which aims to address historical grievances and ensure equitable development across the nation and the need to provide special grants to Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

“That is why for 2024, the Federal allocation for Sabah is RM1.53 billion and Sarawak RM1.63 billion,” Anwar said.

The Prime Minister also agreed with Beluran MP Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee’s request for additional interim allocation for Sabah, for development projects in the state.

“The question of interim is right; it needs to be increased and is being discussed. For Sarawak, since 1969, the allocation was RM16 million, which has never been increased.

“Only this year, we raised it to RM300 million; for Sabah, there was an increase in 2020 to RM125.6 million but now RM300 million.

“Just that this is the first time the Unity Government gave the interim payment, it was not given previously. I agree interim payment must be increased but do not forget for the Pan Borneo Highway, we approved RM16 billion, the Sabah solar hybrid project and transmission of electricity to the Sabah Southern Link.

“Therefore, if still not sufficient, I agree but do not expect problems that existed for decades to be solved within one year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar also directed the Rahmah programme to be expanded to Labuan, Sabah, and Sarawak for the benefit of the people to overcome the rising living costs.

— Bernama

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