CM calls state-to-state economic devt ‘old approach’, says Sarawak can gain more if treated in accordance with MA63
Posted on : 30 Sep 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari being interviewed by newsmen at the school project site. – Information Department photo

KUCHING (Sept 30): Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak can get a better share of the national economic prosperity pie if the state is regarded as region or territory.

He stressed that this is why compliance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is important as far as the status of Sarawak as a region is concerned.

“The approach to developing the economy between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak is using the old approach – depending on state to state.

“In fact, economic planning should be based on regions – the Sarawak region, the Sabah region and the Peninsular Malaysia region,” he said when met by reporters during a school project site visit at SK Merpati Jepang here yesterday.

Considering that the size of Sarawak is big, and having different types of economic structure compared to the peninsula as well as taking into account its natural resources and unique setting, Sarawak’s approach to economic planning should be different, he pointed out.

Abang Johari was referring to the reason why the state is insisting on Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution be amended so that Sarawak could have the status of a region instead of state.

On Monday, the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) document released by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) stated that Sabah and Sarawak will each continue to receive 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively annually of the total basic development allocation in the 12MP.

A significant portion of this allocation will be channelled to the economic sectors in both Sabah and Sarawak to contribute towards improving infrastructure and basic facilities in the two states, the document said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob tabled the 12MP in Parliament on Monday, which aims to restore the momentum of economic growth and achieve long-term development goals, as the country faces challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ismail Sabri said the 12MP, with the objective of ‘A Prosperous, Inclusive, Sustainable Malaysia’, is not just to generate national wealth, but to enable the people to enjoy a better standard of living with a more equitable distribution of opportunities and outcomes as well as ensuring environmental sustainability.

The five-year plan will see the government allocating RM400 billion to finance extension projects and new projects under the 12MP.

Among the nine focuses is the acceleration of development in Sarawak, Sabah and four other least-developed states.

The prime minister said at least 50 per cent of the total Basic Infrastructure Allocation would be distributed to Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu to bridge the economic gap between states, regions, as well as urban and rural areas.

On Sabah and Sarawak, the Prime Minister said the government is committed to resolving issues based on MA63 and would continue to give priority to development in both the states under the 12MP.

He said efforts would be stepped up to ensure access to clean water and electricity supply reach 98 per cent and 99 per cent respectively, and an allocation of RM310 million is set aside for Social Amenity Programmes and RM1.6 billion for the construction of rural roads.

On another matter, Abang Johari, who is also Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman, said the Court decision to ensure that those aged 18 to 20 years could exercise their right to vote after Dec 31 this year, has to be respected.

Also present during the site visit was Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong.