News | Development priority for Sabah, Sarawak under 12MP

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah and Sarawak’s development will continue to be given priority under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri told the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said existing basic infrastructure in the two Bornean states would be expanded by building bridges and upgrading 1,400 km of rural paved roads as well as completing the construction of 1,150 km Pan Borneo Highway.

“Efforts to boost the growth of underdeveloped states, especially Sabah and Sarawak, will be intensified.

“It (12MP) aims to accelerate the slowdown in gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, and Terengganu as well as to reduce poverty, especially in Sabah, Kelantan, and Sarawak.

“For this purpose, at least 50 per cent of the total Federal Basic Development allocation will be distributed to the states.

“This allocation is focused on the provision of basic infrastructure, digitisation, education, healthcare services, and economic development. I myself will monitor its implementation closely,” he said in tabling the 12MP in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Last month, Ismail Sabri announced a 3.61 billion allocation for Sabah and 4.09 billion for Sarawak under the Jendela initiative.

With these allocations, the prime minister said broadband coverage would be enhanced through the construction of digital infrastructure, including the construction of telecommunication towers or transmitters.

As of August 2021, he said 2,645 digital infrastructures have been installed in Sabah and 2,117 in Sarawak.

To improve electricity supply, Ismail Sabri said a new power plant would be built and the Sabah East-West Grid transmission line would be upgraded, adding that the Baleh hydroelectric construction project in Sarawak is expected to be completed in 2025.

Apart from these, he said 26 new clinics would be built in Sabah and Sarawak while the construction of new houses and the repair of poor houses under the housing help program would benefit 26,000 poor households there.

“To ensure security and enhance economic ties with Kalimantan, Indonesia, new border control posts in Manalunan, Simanggaris and Kalabakan, Sabah, will be built, while the Tebedu and Serikin ICQS Complexes in Sarawak will be upgraded.

“In addition, the Road Project from Ba’kelalan Border/CIQ Complex to Lawas will begin construction in 2022.

“With implementing strategies and initiatives to speed up the development of Sabah and Sarawak, the average annual GDP growth of Sabah is expected to increase at 6.5 per cent and Sarawak at 5.3 per cent for the period of 2021 to 2025.”

The prime minister adds that the government is also committed to transforming all rural areas nationwide by boosting high value-added economic activities through e-commerce platforms, smart agriculture, and rural industries

He said rural area infrastructure will be enhanced by constructing and upgrading some 2,800 km of paved roads in Kapit, Sarawak, Kota Belud, Sabah, Maran, Pahang, and Ulu Beranang in Negri Sembilan.

“Efforts will also be ramped up to ensure access to clean water supply reaches 98 per cent and electricity supply 99 per cent (of the people).

“To intensify local socio-economic activities, small rural projects will continue to be implemented such as the Social Amenity Programme with an allocation of RM310 million and the construction of rural roads at a cost of RM1.6 billion.

On Felda, the prime minister said the government planned on making the federal land scheme a leader in smart agriculture and food production in the country.

“The issue of second-generation housing will be addressed by reintroducing the housing development model based on the self-build concept for the second generation.

“Through this model, the second generation will be offered standard house sites and designs by the government,” he said. – NST

by Adib Povera

credit photo: InfoSabah

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