KOTA KINABALU: The annual State budget should be increased from RM4 billion to RM10 billion to further drive economic growth, especially in the ‘New Sabah’ era led by the Parti Warisan Sabah government.
More allocations are required to deliver the changes promised by Warisan in its election manifesto, said Sukau assemblyman Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman, during yesterday’s State Assembly sitting.
“If we are to truly achieve a new Sabah, our annual budget must be increased to drive the growth and change that we dream of in the context of a New Sabah.
“I believe that the State government is able to increase the annual budget through provisions in the Federal Constitution, apart from other claims such as oil royalty and 40 per cent of federal revenue obtained from Sabah, as provided for in Article 112D of the Constitution,” he said.
Saddi added that annual assemblyman budgets should also be increased from RM1 million to RM5 million to deliver more significant changes to local communities, especially those in suburban and rural areas. The current budget of RM1 million is not sufficient, he said, citing his constituency as an example.
“In Sukau, there are 40 villages and most of them are remotely located. The current allocation of RM1 million is not enough to deliver the change expected by the people.
“Divided among the villages, each village would only receive RM25,000 from the allocation, which is not good enough to give them the development they demand,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saddi expressed hope that the move for Sukau to be upgraded to district status by 2020, as approved by the previous government, would not be stalled.
In the spirit of a New Sabah, he suggested that the current government consider establishing a few new districts or towns in the State. This, he said, would smoothen the administration process and reduce the size of parliamentary constituencies.
“That said, developments and projects could be executed more actively and improve the livelihood of over 100,000 people, who also have high hopes for the New Sabah.
“For instance, the road construction project from Sukau to the proposed Second Bridge site over Kinabatangan River. In line with the request to upgrade Sukau to district status, I also hope the new government would reinstate this project which was delayed by the previous government.
“I am confident that under the leadership of this new government, the Second Bridge project could proceed to improve and shorten the journey to Sandakan and Lahad Datu,” he said.