KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah state government is seeking greater autonomy for rural development projects.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said Wednesday that more control over rural development projects – like road infrastructure, electricity and water supply as well as household assistance programmes – would help expedite planning and implementation.
“The Sabah government wants autonomy in terms of planning, funding and implementation of rural development projects so that they can be completed and delivered on time,” Musa said in a statement.
He said there were too many agencies involved at the Federal level at the implementation stage that contributed to the delay of projects.
“Previously, there have been many cases that development of rural areas has been hampered due to delay in channelling of funds, bureaucracy and politicking,” he said. Musa pointed out that billions of ringgit had been allotted by the Federal government for development projects however, hiccups in the channelling of funds had resulted in the delay of crucial projects, which consequently affected the welfare of the people in rural areas.
“When road projects are delayed or when projects involving water electricity supply are not implemented on time, the rakyat blames and even curse the government. They call us liars for not keeping our promises,” Musa said, adding that greater control of development funds by the state would make planning and implementation more streamlined and aligned with state’s overall development objective.
He said faster implementation would also dispel accusations by the opposition that the Federal government was not granting enough funds for the development of rural projects.
“By giving more autonomy, the state can plan and implement projects in a more holistic manner,” he said, adding that the state government has a proven track record in terms of managing its finances, with the Auditor-General having given it a “clean bill” for 14 consecutive years.