Friday, June 5

Development-centric people’s budget


RM6.597 bln allocated to stimulate economic growth via six key strategic thrusts – CM

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has proposed a sum of RM9.891 billion for the 2020 State Budget with the aim of accelerating development for the wellbeing of all Sarawakians.

He said out of the sum, RM6.597 billion would be for development expenditure while the remaining RM3.294 billion, for operating expenditure.

“The State Budget 2020 continues with the six key strategic thrusts aimed at stimulating the growth of the state economy towards an inclusive, sustainable and equitable development for all spectrums of the society,” he said at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.

The six key strategic thrusts are development-biased and rural-focused budget; intensifying the state development agenda; digital economy as the key enabler of economic transformation; investment-driven economic growth; private sector as the main engine of economic growth; and enhancement of service delivery system.

Abang Johari shows the folder containing the 2020 State Budget text which he tabled yesterday on the first day of the DUN sitting. Seen with him is Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also Second Finance Minister.

For the first thrust, a sum of RM4.141 billion or 63 per cent of the development expenditure would be provided for the development in the rural areas, he said.

“In line with the state government’s initiatives to transform the rural areas and ensure that no one will be left behind in this great effort, the 2020 Development Budget will continue to be rural-biased.”

To intensify the state development agenda, which is the second thrust, the chief minister said considerable allocation would be allocated for the provision of basic facilities and amenities including roads and bridges, rural water and electricity supply, and other people-centric projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan which would continue under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

Abang Johari said these development initiatives would open up new and larger areas, unlocking the vast economic potentials of the state and creating the critical mass required for greater private sector participation.

This in turn would help to generate more jobs and business opportunities for Sarawakians, he added.

To utilise digital economy as the key enabler of economic transformation, Abang Johari explained the third thrust would encourage the transformation of Sarawak into a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.

“The Sarawak Digital Economy Initiatives will be intensified further through the creation of a comprehensive digital ecosystem, talent development and entrepreneurship culture,” he said.

To spur the state’s economic development, he said the Sarawak government will further broaden its investment base through the fourth thrust which is investment-driven economic growth.

He said these investments would focus on higher value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as resource-based industries such as oil and gas, agriculture, bio-tech, and timber processing industries.

“On top of the federal investment incentives, the state also offers an attractive incentive package in terms of competitive price of land, competitive electricity tariffs and water rates, low down-payment for purchase of industrial land, and provision of facilities to ensure a conducive investment climate.”

For the fifth thrust, Abang Johari assured that the state would continue to ensure that the required business infrastructures and business-friendly policies would be put in place to attract and facilitate private sector investment.

“The completion of major infrastructure projects and public facilities and amenities throughout the state would enable the private sector to play their part as the primary engine of the state economic growth,” he said.

To enhance the service delivery system of the government, Abang Johari said the state would continue to embark on the implementation of Digital Government such as providing cashless payment gateway, one-stop online services, and open data system.

“The state is also set out to improve its administrative infrastructure facilities in order to enhance its service delivery to the rakyat (people),” he added.