State notched RM1.2 billion surplus last year

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING, July 31: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that Sarawak recorded a surplus of RM1.2 billion last year due to prudent financial management.

He was also optimistic that Sarawak will be able to have a healthy surplus for this year due to good financial management. Prudent financial management has been credited as the reason why Sarawak has been able to accumulate some RM30 billion in reserves as reported on numerous occasions.

Abang Johari also stressed that the administration which he inherited from his predecessor the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, will continue to focus on providing basic amenities such as water, electricity, and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

The chief minister also stressed that Sarawak will also improve its Internet connectivity with the previously announced allocation of RM1 billion.

“My colleagues and I will continue to focus on bringing development to our people especially in the rural areas. At the same time, we will also assist the urban poor in getting proper housing through the village extension programme which will be implemented in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri,” Abang Johari said at the “CM Abang Jo with the media” session held at a hotel here today.

Abang Johari also described the current political situation as ‘challenging’ as Sarawak is an opposition state in the federation.

“We will continue to collaborate with the federal government but we will not rush into things,” he said.

The chief minister added that due to the defeat of the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government in the 14th general election, Sarawak has no choice but to set up its local-based political alliance — Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) consisting of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) — to continue fighting for Sarawak’s rights as enshrined under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

On the proposed light rail transit (LRT), Abang Johari said its implementation will depend on the people’s needs based on the state’s traffic masterplan to address congestion especially between Kuching and Kota Samarahan.

On the coastal road, the chief minister said the project will be implemented by next year with an allocation of RM1 billion a year, and is expected to be completed between eight to twelve years.

Abang Johari also revealed that all ferry services fee will be abolished starting next year. For it to be abolished, the Sarawak government has instructed Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Tan Sri Dr James Masing to ascertain its cost. Abang Johari said the initiative was taken to facilitate better mobility among the people.

Meanwhile, the chief minister revealed that all ministries in Sarawak will have their own respective media and public relations unit to facilitate greater rapport between the state government and members of the media fraternity.

Today’s event was held in conjunction with Abang Johari’s one-and-a-half years in office. — DayakDaily