Sarawak CM promises pro-rural state budget

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the Sarawak state government must provide the infrastructure and amenities to the people in the rural areas to enable them to enjoy a comfortable life like others in the towns and cities. — Bernama pic
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the Sarawak state government must provide the infrastructure and amenities to the people in the rural areas to enable them to enjoy a comfortable life like others in the towns and cities. — Bernama pic

SIBU, Oct 13 ― Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the Sarawak Budget to be tabled next month will continue the focus on rural development.

He said the state government must provide the infrastructure and amenities to the people in the rural areas to enable them to enjoy a comfortable life like others in the towns and cities.

“After so many years we still have pockets of areas where our people still do not have access to clean water and 24-hour supply of electricity,” he said, adding that even there are areas near Kuching that do not have piped water.

He said there are also areas in Belaga near the Bakun Dam that were not connected to the power grid.

“We are not deaf and dumb to these problems that our people are facing in the rural areas. If I have my way I would like to see that everything is implemented overnight or tomorrow but there are rules and processes that we must adhere to before any project can take off the ground,” he said at the 82nd birthday celebration of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud here.

He said the state government will continue with the implementation of rural projects that have been or will be cancelled by the new federal government.

He said the state government could still cope as its financial position is quite strong due to prudent financial planning in the past and saving for the future.

Abang Johari, who is also the state minister of finance and economic planning, said the state cannot depend heavily on its oil and gas sector and agricultural commodities to enhance its economic growth.

“For Sarawak to continue progressing in its development path, we need to transform Sarawak through Digital Economy where technology would become the basis of our economic growth.

“We need to embrace the technological changes to be competitive and create more economic values to our products and services and move away from a conventional to an economy that is founded on digitalisation on many fronts,” he added.

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