KUCHING, Oct 27: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s allocations for Sarawak in Budget 2018 show that finally the voices of Sarawak have been heard.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said this, citing the allocations of RM1 billion for school repairs; RM 500 million for rural roads; RM300 million for rural electricity; and 30 million for native customary rights (NCR) perimeter surveys.
“RM1 billion for repairing dilapidated schools in Sarawak shows that Putrajaya (federal government) through Najib is finally listening to Sarawak’s needs to have quality education.”
“Until Najib became PM, education in Sarawak was sidelined,” he said in a press statement today in response to Najib’s Budget 2018 speech which was broadcast live on national TV this afternoon.
On the allocations for basic infrastructure such as rural roads and water supply, Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation (MIDT) Minister appreciated the allocations, but opined Sarawakians should ask for more.
“RM500 million and RM300 million for rural roads and electricity respectively for Sabah and Sarawak is good, but we need to ask for more in years to come.
“RM30million for the surveying of NCR land in Sarawak shows Putrajaya is still sensitive to our needs to have NCR land surveyed and owned by rightful owners.
“The Sarawak Land and Survey Department has to work harder to ensure that RM30million is spent for this purpose, and the natives of Sarawak must not be the obstacles to having their land surveyed,” said Masing.
He said in the next few years, Sarawak must plan for more state infrastructure development including the Coastal Highway and the Second Expressway.
Citing the example of the coastal highway linking Selangor to Perak which costs RM5 billion, he said Sarawak should continue to plan for more infrastructure development so that the state could continue to bid for more funding from the federal government.
“If we don’t have roads or highways being planned, how can we bid for funds as they do in Peninsular Malaysia? That is why my ministry has been planning for the Coastal Highway, the Second Expressway and bridges with the total cost of no less than RM5 billion,” said Masing.
He said more highways and bridges will be planned by MIDT for Sarawak in the years ahead. — DayakDaily