KOTA KINABALU, Dec 7 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said his year-old government has advanced Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 more than previous administrations have in the decade before he came to power.
On the eve of his government’s first anniversary today, Anwar said his administration has implemented more policies granting greater autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak at a pace and intensity not previously seen.
“We have returned control of electricity to the state, we have given power over small projects, we have increased development funds, we have put in representatives from Sabah and Sarawak into the Inland Revenue Board... this is more than any other government — in a year, compared to the previous ten years,” he said.
Putrajaya announced recently it was handing over full regulatory control of the electricity supply in the state to Sabah as well as giving authority to Sabah and Sarawak to decide on projects valued below RM50 million.
Anwar, who is in Sabah for a day to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of a hydroelectric dam as well as the National Hawkers and Petty Traders Day, said that he believed that Sabah deserved more federal funds to help its development catch up with the rest of the country.
“We have given some RM6.84 billion in development projects to Sabah, compared to Penang that has RM1.4 billion. People are asking why is Sabah’s allocation so high? This is because Sabah has more problems — roads, schools, power and water — it’s our responsibility as a federal government to deal with it,” he said.
He urged Sabahans to take note of the federal government’s efforts to be attuned to their state’s needs and to fund its development.
“So, be more thankful. Don’t marah-marah lagi (be upset still),” he said to the crowd at Buhavan Square in Donggongon, Penampang here today.
He said that it was untrue what certain politicians were saying about Penang being allocated more than Sabah, and urged people not to listen to such claims.
“We have increased funds for Sabah. Two years ago, they got RM5 billion. Now we have increased it to RM6.84 this year. This does not even include the Pan Borneo Highway which is another RM15 billion,” he said.
He also said the good rapport between him and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has made it easier for the state government to bring their problems to the federal government for attention.
“If Hajiji had requested projects and infrastructure from us for the people’s benefit, the muafakat spirit enables us to approve and expedite projects for Sabahans,” he said.
The launching of the National Hawkers and Petty Traders Carnival (HPPK 2023) at Buhavan Square, Penampang today was also attended by Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick who is Penampang MP. The carnival will be going on until December 9.
Ewon said that about 50,000 people are expected to flock the three-day carnival as there would also be Rahmah Sales, performance by local artistes, and 300 booths comprising exhibitors, food trucks, hawkers and petty traders, as well as stalls offering various items such as food and drinks, handicraft and clothing.