CM: Sarawak to spend RM11b on infrastructure

Sulok Tawie
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg says the Sarawak government will allocate RM11 billion to build roads, bridges and provide water and electricity throughout the state. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Oct 23 ― The state government will allocate RM11 billion to build roads, bridges and provide water and electricity throughout Sarawak within the next two years, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg told state officials.

He said RM2.8 billion would be spent on water supplies, RM2.3 billion on electricity supplies and about RM6 billion on the coastal highway.

“We have never spent so much on infrastructures and this will be a record spending for Sarawak,” he said at the closing of a three-day retreat for Sarawak heads of government departments at a local hotel in Batu Ferringhi in Penang last night.

He expressed gratitude to the 140-odd government officers for seeking ways and means to expedite the implementation of all the projects approved by the Sarawak state government.

In response to a recommendation to enhance the success rate and hasten the pace of projects, he announced a trust fund of RM200 million that would provide funding, reimbursable upon confirmation of budget, for front-end phase of projects which included pre-studies and appraisals.

During the retreat the officers who had been divided into clusters in their deliberations made a series of recommendations to the state government with a view to ensure fast project delivery and enhance public services, including state-funded welfare assistance.

The chief minister said he found a way to bring in more revenue for Sarawak that would be used to fund the projects without spending the existing state reserves.

“Just wait for my budget speech on November 5,” he told the officers without revealing the mechanism of how the revenue would be generated.

He said that the state government had decided to fund all the approved projects as the state could no longer rely on Putrajaya to fund projects for the benefit of the people.

He expressed confidence that the increased public spending coupled with consistent policies would shore up the state's economy within the next two years.

He added that Sarawak should capitalise on the relocation of industries out of China that was expected to happen given the possible scenario of a trade war between China and the United States.

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