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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 17: The Federal government has allocated RM4.47 billion to Sarawak and RM4.66 billion to Sabah as part of its prosperity sharing aspirations, while reiterating its commitment to resolve equal partnership issues under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the allocation will be channelled under the First Rolling Plan for 2021 of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) which will be tabled in Parliament on Sept 27.
“This development allocation is one of the highest among the states. This is a testament to the government’s high commitment towards improving the economic growth and prosperity of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
“With the principle of ‘Working with the People’, the government will continue to focus on these two states so that the people can enjoy equal benefits,” he said during the Malaysia Day national-level celebration last night at the Sabah International Convention Centre.
Noting that the issue of “equal partners” has always been raised during Malaysia Day, Ismail Sabri pledged that the Federal government through MA63 will give due attention to issues concerning the importance of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The government will continue to finetune matters that need to be resolved through negotiations, through the MA63 Special Council chaired by me, with the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers and eight federal ministers as members.
“We are grateful that despite our states being separated by the South China Sea, every challenge has been overcome and faced with tolerance and democratically based on the Constitution and the laws of the country,” he added.
Ismail Sabri also expressed confidence that both Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor and Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will always listen to the grouses and needs of the people and work together to find solutions.
He emphasised that at present, the government’s focus will be on the recovery of the economic sector especially that of Sabah and Sarawak which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apart from that, he added that infrastructure and basic amenities will also be given priority to ensure optimal and balanced development across the region.
The government, he continued, also acknowledged the needs and importance of Keluarga Malaysia towards achieving high speed internet connectivity and as such, the National Digital Network Plan (Jendela) 2021-2025 will be further expanded.
In an effort to prepare Sabah and Sarawak to transition towards 5G mobile connections, he emphasised that the government has allocated RM7.7 billion over the next five years, with Sabah receiving RMRM3.61 billion and Sarawak RM4.09 billion.
“Jendela promised a wider and better internet connectivity for the benefit of Keluarga Malaysia especially in Negeri di Bawah Bayu and Bumi Kenyalang.
“The government remains committed to improving broadband services in both states. No one will be left behind, everyone will have access to the digital world, and everyone must be connected.
“It will benefit 3.8 million people in Sabah and 2.8 million in Sarawak,” he said.
“Hopefully after this, we will no longer hear about those who have to climb trees or rooftops to get better Internet access,” he added.
The celebration also witnessed the signing of the Malaysia Day 2021 Special Book by Ismail Sabri himself, Hajiji and Abang Johari who was represented by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan to commemorate the formation of Malaysia in 1963. — DayakDaily