By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Nov 5: The proposed development budget for 2019 will be fairly distributed to ensure sustainable and balanced development throughout the state, particularly between urban and rural areas, assured Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, today.
Tabling State Budget 2019, the chief minister said Sarawak would continue to invest in a range of initiatives to ensure that the on-going provision of vital services would benefit Sarawakians from all walks of life.
“To hasten the pace of rural development, a total sum of RM6.049 billion is proposed, of which RM2.350 billion is set aside for the implementation of projects such as RM1.535 billion for walkabout projects, RM500 million for rural transformation projects, RM243 million for minor rural projects and RM72 million for Program Penambahbaikan Rumah Miskin Sarawak (PPRMS).
The state will also invest in more infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and jetties to improve connectivity. For this purpose, RM1.105 billion will be allocated for the implementation of various road projects throughout the state.
In addition, four more bridges, namely Muara Lassa Bridge in Mukah, Rambungan Bridge in Lundu, Bintulu-Jepak Bridge crossing Kuala Kemena in Bintulu and Batang Lupar Bridge in Samarahan-Betong will be built.
As for water supply, the state government will continue to extend the coverage of water supply, especially to the rural populace.
“A sum of RM190 million is proposed in 2019 for the implementation of various water supply projects, including those from Kota Samarahan to Sebuyau, Samarahan, pipeline from Assyakirin Reservoir to Nyabau Water Treatment Plant intake, retrofit and treatment plants and reservoir programme, regional water supply to Bau, Lundu and Sematan, upgrading of Berawan water treatment plant and Dalaw water supply Phase II.”
In order to become a net exporter of agricultural produce and products to meet the demands of domestic and global markets, the state will strengthen its agriculture development by transforming it into a modern, competitive and sustainable sector capable of generating new innovative businesses and high-value employment opportunities.
“The agriculture sector needs to be modernised and commercialised through leveraging on advanced technologies. For this, a sum of RM315 million is proposed in 2019 which, among others, provide venture capital programme to strengthen the business model for the agriculture sector and crop industry development.
“This includes the establishment of permanent food production parks at various divisions, Agro-park at Samarahan and Sarikei, fertigation project in Mukah and crop development programmes such as paddy, fruits, rubber, oil palms, vegetables and herbs.”
To further develop industrial estates, Abang Johari said the state industrialisation programme would continue to build infrastructure suitable for industries.
A sum of RM85.3 million is proposed for the implementation and completion of various industrial estates, such as Demak Laut Industrial Park, Sematan Industrial Estates, Sri Aman Industrial Estates, Bau Industrial Estates and Rantau Panjang Industrial Estates.
“In addition, the development of SMEs (small and medium scale enterprises) will remain a priority so as to achieve a more inclusive and balanced growth. To achieve this, a sum of RM18.4 million is proposed for the implementation of various entrepreneurship programmes and projects for SMEs, which includes Samalaju SME cluster and Anjung Usahawan in Lawas, Sundar, Trusan and Gedong.” — DayakDaily