KUCHING, Nov 16 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said that the state government has spent RM37.1 billion while the federal government allocated RM20.4 billion for development projects in Sarawak under the five-year 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
He said under 12MP, which will start in 2021, the state government will allocate more funds for development, focusing on infrastructures and agriculture.
“Some people thought we will go bankrupt if we spend more funds for development. I can tell you that we will not go bankrupt. Today, we still have our reserve totaling RM32 billion, an increase from the previous year,” he said at the inaugural GPS Convention at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here.
He said there are people who claimed that Sarawak would crawl to beg for funds after a change in the federal government following the defeat of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 14th general election last year.
“They thought Sarawak would go bankrupt within three years without the financial support from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.
“But we are not that stupid. We have the funds. This year, we budgeted RM10 billion and another RM10 billion for next year for our development expenditures,” he said.
The chief minister told the 5,000 delegates in attendance that the state government has ways to generate revenue for development funds, including imposing sales tax on oil and gas exports.
“We also have a 25 per cent equity investment in LGP Tiga Plant in Bintulu which gives us about RM2 billion in revenue annually,” he said.
“I can tell you that if Petronas fails to pay us the sales tax, we have other sources of revenue for our development.
“We have the state-owned Development Bank of Sarawak (DBoS) which can help us with the funds.
“We have big reserves deposited in banks in the country. We have taken some of our reserves in these banks and transferred it to DBoS.
“With these funds in DBoS, we will obtain the loans to finance our infrastructures, like bridges and roads,” he said.
Among those present at the convention were leaders from the four GPS component parties, PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP.