KUCHING, Nov 20 — Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said the state Budget 2024 will be development-biased with an allocation of RM9.038 billion, an increase from RM4.563 billion allocated for this year.
He said the budget will continue to provide allocation to key sectors to accelerate economic development and eventually make the state economy prosperous, robust, and resilient.
“The state is committed to pursue inclusive economic growth, which is attested by a higher allocation budgeted for development,” Abang Johari, who is also the state Finance and New Economy Minister, said.
He said RM8.915 billion will be funded by a state fund while RM123 million will be through federal loans and reimbursable grants.
He said among the major projects in the 2024 Budget are RM550 million for the implementation of Projek Rakyat; RM420 million for Rural Transformation Projects (RTP); RM200 million for Regional Development Agencies; and RM260 million for Minor Rural Projects (MRP).
“These projects are expected to generate significant economic multipliers for the state, create additional employment prospects for the local people and revitalise the construction and service sectors.
“With bigger allocation from the annual budget and other sources of funding, coupled with the continuous efforts of the government to ensure project completion and delivery, the state is expected to achieve an economic growth of between 5 and 6 per cent next year,” he said.
He said balancing urban-rural development and achieving sustainable urban-rural integration will be the key priority to ensure balanced development, as Sarawak progresses towards becoming a developed region.
He added the focus of rural development is to uplift the well-being of the rural community and enhance the economic potential of the rural areas based on their local strengths and peculiarities.
“Under the 2024 Budget, emphasis will continue to be given to providing basic infrastructure and services, to improve rural connectivity and accessibility that will drive economic growth and development in this area.
“More roads, bridges, ports, water and electricity supplies, and air transport will be provided, creating economic vibrancy in the surrounding areas, improving the liveability and mobility of local communities, invigorating businesses, and creating employment opportunities,” he said.
He said road development, including bridges, has always been given priority by the Sarawak government as it strives to connect all areas in the state.
He said under the 2024 state Budget, a sum of RM662 million will be provided for the implementation of various roads and bridge projects such as the design and construction of the inner ring road in Kuching;
Jalan Pakan/Ulu Kota, Pakan, Sarikei (Phase III) and replacement of seven temporary bridges under Phase 1 to permanent bridges.
“Under the alternative funding initiative, among the ongoing catalytic initiatives are the construction of the Coastal Road Network and the Second Trunk Road projects, with an estimated total cost of RM11 billion,” he said.
The premier said the Sarawak government has set a high priority on expanding the coverage of safe and treated water supply throughout the state.
He said the initiatives to provide reliable, efficient, resilient, safe, and sustainable water supply will continue to be intensified to achieve this objective.
He said a sum of RM156 million will be allocated in 2024 for the implementation of continuation and new water supply projects under the Mid-Term Review of 12th Malaysia Plan.
“In addition, a total sum of RM552 million will be provided under the alternative funding initiative in 2024 to continue the implementation of water supply projects,” he said.
He said the state government will continue to ensure full coverage of electricity supply and reduce electricity interruption.
“These electricity supply initiatives will also serve as an enabler to unlock the potential for localised economic development, especially in rural areas,” he said.