KOTA KINABALU, Sept 6 — Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan today hinted that Sabah may again be the state with the biggest development fund in Budget 2024.

He said that although there are suggestions to allocate development funds based on the three regions of Malaysia — Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia — no final decision has been made yet, so the ministry will use the existing model for budget allocations according to the needs of each state.

“We respect the three regions and their respective needs but the states in West Malaysia also need development funding... but maybe next year, Sabah may get the largest development funding again,” he said.

Ahmad Maslan said this to reporters after attending the Sabah leg of the nationwide Budget 2024 roadshow dialogue at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) today.

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He was asked whether the government would consider the three-state equitable allocation model for 2024.

He said that Sabah’s land area was vast territory and still lacked a lot of basic facilities, so it was understandable that it needs more funding.

However, he also pointed out that states in West Malaysia, such as Pahang, also requested more funding from the government on the grounds that it is the largest state in West Malaysia.

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“Even if the government provides more funding, I believe each state will still say it is insufficient, so the government must allocate funding according to the needs of each state,” he said.

Sabah received a development allocation of RM6.5 billion in Budget 2023, an increase of more than RM1.3 billion from 2022’s RM5.2 billion. It is also the state with the biggest development allocation in the country.

He said that a total of 1,144 development projects with a total value of RM61.1 billion were implemented in Sabah in 2023, which was also much higher than the 1,048 development projects in 2022 with a total value of RM48.1 billion.

He said that of the 1,144 development projects this year, 219 are new projects with a total value of nearly RM800 million, while the remaining 925 projects are ongoing projects.

In addition to development projects, Ahmad Maslan said the government has also given cash assistance of some RM696.33 million to 799,817 people in Sabah this year under the Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah programme.

Another RM21.28 million has been distributed to 35,479 welfare recipients under the living aid assistance (SARA).