Budget 2024: Premier satisfied with RM5.8 bln allocation for Sarawak, points out more to come from federal ministries

Abang Johari (second right) photographed with (from left) Dr Rundi, Awang Tengah and Fadillah during PBB Special Convention for North Zone at Bintulu Civic Centre on Oct 15, 2023. Photo credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas)

By Shikin Louis

BINTULU, Oct 15: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has expressed his satisfaction with the RM5.8 billion development allocation for the State in the proposed Budget 2024.

He said the budget allocation for Sarawak should not be viewed as confined to the sum of RM5.8 billion alone as there are also federal ministries which would distribute their respective budget allocations to develop the State later on.

“Yes, I’m satisfied. Of course, we want some more (allocation) but we must also remember (that) there are restrictions and limitations too.

“To me, it is okay. What’s important is that Sarawak has a representative in the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and then that is where maybe we can discuss on the question of Article 112D (of the Federal Constitution),” he told a press conference after officiating at Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Special Convention for North Zone held at Bintulu Civic Centre here today.

Under Article 112D, Sabah and Sarawak are entitled to an allocation of special grants annually based on certain measures and subject to the federal government’s financial ability.

On Oct 11, 2023, the Dewan Rakyat has passed the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (Amendment) Bill 2023 for Sabah and Sarawak government representatives to be on the IRB which would allow them to have the full picture of revenue collection in both States.

At the same time, Abang Johari further thanked the Unity Government for the handover of Bintulu Port Authority to Sarawak, stating that the “negotiations” term only refers to the process of handing over the assets.

He also expressed his gratitude to the federal government for continuing the development of Sabah-Sarawak Link Road (SSLR) and education infrastructures which would benefit the State.

“Another thing is the Sarawak Cancer Centre which is a very unique matter because we are working together with the Unity Government on this.

“Based on our understanding, the ministry will manage the cancer centre while Sarawak will assist in the construction of hardware provision for the centre,” he added.

Amongst those present were PBB deputy president Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan; senior vice presidents Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof and Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; permanent chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar; secretary-general Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi; Women Wing chief Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah; and Youth Wing chief Miro Simuh. — DayakDaily