CM: Devt-biased 2021 Sarawak budget to focus on people-centric projects, accelerating economic activities

Posted on : 09 Nov 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Datukl Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg – File photo

KUCHING (Nov 9): Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has tabled a development-biased state budget in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today, with a large portion set aside for rural development.

He said the 2021 Sarawak Budget was worth RM9.832 billion with a sum of RM6 billion proposed for development expenditure and RM3.832 billion for operating expenditure.

He said the 2021 Sarawak Budget, themed ‘Reinvigorating the Economy towards a Resilient, Caring and Inclusive Society’, was worth RM9.832 billion comprising RM6 billion for development expenditure and RM3.832 billion for operating expenditure.

However, he pointed out that the total allocation for development expenditure would total RM6.304 billion, as the state would continue to leverage on State Alternative Funding Initiatives besides other sources of funding to complement the development budget.

He pointed out that the budget would focus on people-centric projects aimed at accelerating economic activities.

“The state will continue to hasten the development in rural areas in order to bridge the development gap between the urban and rural areas.

“For this purpose, a sum of RM4.251 billion or 67 per cent of the total development expenditure will be set aside for the implementation of programmes and projects in the rural areas, while the remaining RM2.053 billion or 33 per cent is for urban areas,” he said.

He pointed out that, with the estimated revenue of RM10.012 billion and a total proposed Ordinary Expenditure of RM9.832 billion, the proposed 2021 Budget was expected to generate a surplus of RM180 million.

Abang Johari added that as the state aspires to attain high-income economy by 2030, substantial amount of funding was required to spur the growth of the State economy.

“Apart from diversifying our revenue resources through
revenue reengineering, we will continue to leverage on State Alternative Funding Initiatives to complement the State development budget.

“This is necessary to fund major infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges; provision of water and electricity supplies; telecommunication and digital economy projects.”

Abang Johari highlighted specific initiatives, projects, and programmes which would have a transformative impact on the state’s economy and the and welfare of Sarawakians.

Among the projects, including those funded under State Alternative Funding Initiatives are RM1.152 billion for Coastal Road Network, RM1.687 billion for various projects under Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda), RM494 million for Second Trunk Road, RM792 million for projects under Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency (IRSDA) and RM430 million for construction of the Lawas/Limbang Road.

Others are RM500 million for implementation of Projek Rakyat, RM400 million for Rural Transformation Projects (RTP) and RM235 million for Minor Rural Projects (MRP).

The chief minister said the implementation of all these projects would enable the people to enjoy better public amenities and infrastructures that would ultimately help to improve their standard of living.

He added that these projects would create multiplier effects to the local economy, generating thousands of job opportunities for the local folks, and boosting the constructions and service sectors.

Abang Johari said next year would mark the first year of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) with an implementation period from 2021 to 2025.

To achieve the state’s aspiration towards a high-income economy by 2030, he said the state development strategic thrusts and directions were being formulated to take into account the post-Covid-19 Exit Economic Strategy 2030 that would encompass the forthcoming 12MP.

“The priority of my administration is to provide additional resources and assistance including for the vulnerable section of our society, speed up development in both urban and rural areas as well as enhance provision of infrastructure and utilities.

“Therefore, the 2021 State Budget is framed across eight strategic thrusts aimed at steering and reinvigorating the economy towards recovery and sustainable growth.

“This approach will enable us to build a resilient society, strengthen social inclusivity, and enhanced environmental sustainability,” he asserted.

He announced the eight strategic thrusts anchoring the 2021 State Budget as Steering Economic Recovery, Securing the People’s Wellbeing, Ensuring Food Security and Transformation of Agriculture Production, Strengthening Social Security, Advancing Digital Economy, Human Capital Development, Promoting Environmental Sustainability and Enhancing Government Service Delivery.

Abang Johari said the 2021 Sarawak Budget would continue to be expansionary budget aimed to stimulate the state’s economic growth that was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic while ensuring balance socio-economic development between urban and rural areas.

He stressed that the budget would focus on development, and rural development in particular, paving way for economic recovery and improving sustainable living.

“It is the philosophy of the GPS government that in our continuous efforts to develop the state, no one will be left behind. Every Sarawakians no matter where they are, should be able to reap and enjoy the fruits of development.

“And it is the responsibility of my administration to create an enabling environment for our people to do so. We fully commit ourselves to take care of Sarawak and protect Sarawak from unscrupulous elements,” he added.