PENAMPANG, Nov 18 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today he will continue to focus on development in Sabah to ensure that the state progresses at the same pace with the other states in the country.
The Prime Minister said he held to the principle of justice in terms of distribution of national development so that all areas, from Sabah to Perlis, enjoyed progress and development accordingly.
“I know this is the value of the people of Sabah who together helped to establish Malaysia. We must show that as a nation when the people of Sabah decided to come together to form Malaysia, we must guarantee that the decision is reciprocated with a good future for all of us.
“It was not easy for the people of Sabah to help form Malaysia. I was taken to the house of OKK Sodomon (an independence fighter) in Keningau. Apparently, it was at his house that my late father (Tun Abdul Razak) met the Kadazandusun leaders to convince them (Sabah leaders) to be a part of Malaysia,” he said when opening the 32nd annual delegates conference of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) here.
Najib said that today it is his responsibility to translate that decision and the aspirations of the people into a good future for the people of Sabah.
Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman; Deputy Chief Minister and PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan; Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister and PBS deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and leaders of other Barisan Nasional component parties attended the event.
Najib, who is BN chairman, said the national budgets are so comprehensive that they would reduce and eliminate the development gap among Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula one day, though it might take some time.
Budget 2018 provided large allocations to Sabah and Sarawak and received overwhelming response from the people, he said, adding that he had to do this because a previous prime minister who had administered for 22 years did not do so until the two states were left behind the others.
“I have to do what he did not, as such the allocations for Sabah and Sarawak are much higher in Budget 2018,” he said.
Najib said that in Budget 2018, the federal government allocated RM2 billion for construction of the toll-free Pan Borneo Highway and RM1 billion to renovate dilapidated schools in Sabah under the Industrialised Building System (IBS) to provide good educational infrastructure for the people of Sabah.
He said that through good educational facilities, the people of Sabah, who had high potential for progress, can excel in education, thus generating academically qualified and skillful people to lead the government administration in the state.
Budget 2018 also allocated for Sabah and Sarawak RM500 million for construction of rural roads, RM600 million for electricity supply and RM300 for clean water supply, he said, adding that it was hoped that the money would be spent accordingly without any leakage.
Speaking to reporters later, Najib said the federal government had agreed to approve a facilitation fund of RM500 million for the development of eco-tourism projects in Tanjung Aru as additional tourist attractions.
“This is the backing from the federal government for the priority projects of the state government to draw world-class tourists to the state,” he said. — Bernama