PM: Fairness means more allocations for lagging regions like Sarawak, Sabah, not same sum for all

Anwar speaks during the launch of Raia Hotel and Convention Centre, Kuching on April 17, 2023. Photo credit: Sarawak Information Department (Japen)

By Ling Hui, Nur Ashikin Louis & Chris Bishop

KUCHING, April 18: Being fair and just is not about giving the same amount to all, but providing more for the lagging regions such as Sarawak and Sabah.

Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim said equality is about bringing up all of Malaysia, including Sarawak and Sabah, to be on the same level of development.

“What is fairness? Being fair is about putting everything on the same level, not giving the same thing. We have three main blocs namely the Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

“So, it does not necessarily mean all three are at the same level now. Some may need more help. Some may have less infrastructure now.

“In Peninsular Malaysia, we see great transportation infrastructure such as the North-South Expressway and ECRL (East Coast Rail Line), but Sarawak and Sabah do not have these yet,” he said when officiating at the launch of Raia Hotel & Convention Centre Kuching here last night (April 17).

Anwar said he was previously chided by some MPs in Parliament for allocating big sums to Sarawak and Sabah when the Pan Borneo Highway project is already a huge expenditure.

He said he had been very stern against this attitude as the MPs seemed to be concerned with competition between Peninsular Malaysia and the Borneo regions while not fully understanding the history of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

“The federal government has commitments towards the state governments and we have the obligation to honour the decision of our forefathers.

“If we look at the position of Sarawak and Sabah today, because they joined the federation later (then Malaya), they are lacking in certain aspects such as infrastructure.

“It is therefore our responsibility as a unity government to take action to help Sarawak and Sabah,” said Anwar. — DayakDaily