BAU (Jan 14): Sarawak is projected to collect more than RM11 billion in revenue for 2023, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He also expressed hopes that the state’s revenue will keep on increasing, saying that the state has managed to increase its coffers since 2018.
“You know, the highest that we’ve got in terms of revenue is between RM4 billion to RM5 billion only. From 2018 to today, we have increased our revenue, and our projected revenue for this year is more than RM11 billion.
“And I feel that our revenue will keep on increasing. That is why we dare to establish our own Sovereign Fund. This sovereign fund is for the future of our Sarawakians. We must manage our finances prudently, we spend for investment and then we also save for the future.
“That is what Sarawak will be, and I’m sure we can work together to build Sarawak to be financially independent, at the same time we have common objective to develop every community and every Sarawakian – this is what I call social inclusivity, based on thriving society using technology and data,” he said.
Abang Johari was speaking during the opening ceremony of Bidayuh Cultural Village (BCV) in conjunction with the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Association of Research and Development Movement of Singai Sarawak (Redeems) at its centre here tonight.
Seeing that the state has a bright future moving towards 2030 and beyond, Abang Johari said Sarawak can become a developed state by 2030 much like Singapore which had managed to transform itself into a nation with one of the most advanced economies in the region.
He said although Sarawak has the resources that can propel its development, it is still lacking in terms of brain power in comparison to Singapore which lacks in natural resources but excels in terms of brain power.
“Singapore was a swampy island, but (former prime minister) the late Lee Kuan Yew transformed it, until Singapore became what you see today – a nation with advanced economy in this region. Although it has no resources, but it has strength in brain-power.
“Sarawak has resources that can propel our development, but lacks in brain-power. But brain-power can be trained.
“If Lee can transform Singapore, we can transform Sarawak, provided that the unity and knowledge is there. The ingredients are there, we just need to move forward. Once you get new ideas to develop Sarawak, by 2030 we will be a developed state with a high income economy,” he said.
Touching on Redeems, Abang Johari said it is a symbol of unity of the Bidayuh and also the other parts of the Bidayuh settlements – from Serian up to Sematan.
As such, by establishing an agency such as the Greater Kuching Development Agency, it reflects the policies that are to be implemented in greater Kuching areas located outside Kuching, and that the area has an advantage due to its close proximity to Kuching.
“You have all the basic infrastructure, and we are going to improve the infrastructure, even to the extent of extending the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) up to Serian – and one day ART may be going from Bau to Telok Melano (in Sematan),” he added.
At the event, he also pledged a sum of RM3 million to support the efforts done by Redeems.
Also present at the event was Redeems president Datuk Peter Nansian.