Premier: S’wak to start building health, education infrastructure first then make claims to Putrajaya

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Abang Johari (centre) seen speaking to reporters during his visit to Naroden’s house. Also seen are Naroden (left) and Sharifah Hasidah (right). — Photo by Kong Jun Liung

KUCHING (April 16): The projects to build health and education infrastructure using state government funds are expected to start at the end of this year, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to him, Sarawak even has a mechanism to carry out the projects before making a refund claim to the federal government.

“Actually, we are currently drafting cooperation between the federal government and the state government in very important sectors such as health and education.

“We already have a mechanism to claim back from the central government.

“We have a committee at the official level to handle this matter. I think we will start at the end of the year,” he said when met by reporters while attending the Hari Raya open house of Ministry of International Trade, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development (Mintred) adviser Datuk Naroden Majais and his wife Datin Masnah Ahmad here today.

Also present were Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Legal, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and Batang Sadong MP Rodiyah Sapiee.

Abang Johari informed that he had held an informal discussion with Deputy Health Minister Dato Lukanisman Awang Sauni on Monday.

“They also now have a committee to draw up a mechanism for us to redevelop and rebuild the (dilapidated) clinics.

“We use our allocation first and then the federal government pays back,” he said.

On other developments, Abang Johari welcomed the appointment of Lawrence Wong as the new Prime Minister of Singapore, which will take effect on May 15.

He said Lawrence has extensive experience in addition to being the finance minister of the Republic.

“As everyone knows, Sarawak works very closely with Singapore and we have met with him (Lawrence) and he seems to have a good view of cooperation and understanding between Singapore and Malaysia, especially Singapore-Sarawak.

“I am sure it will be a smooth transition for Sarawak under the same government, the same leader,” said Abang Johari, adding Sarawak will continue to work closely with Singapore especially in energy joint ventures in addition to cooperation through the Singapore Sarawak Trade, Investment and Tourism Office (Statos).

Wong will replace Lee Hsien Loong who has held the position since 2004.

Wong, 51, currently holds the position of Finance Minister and was appointed two years ago as the leader of the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) fourth generation (4G) team.