KUCHING: The Sarawak government will provide free electricity connections worth up to RM5,000 starting next year to lessen the people's financial burden, especially in rural areas.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the cost of connecting electricity from the main power line to a home cost anywhere from RM1,000 to RM5,000 or more.
"There is no way for a poor family in the kampung or longhouse to afford such an amount, unless through government assistance such as the rural electricity scheme.
"That is why we agree that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government will foot the cost of connecting a service line up to RM5,000," he said at the state civil service day celebration here on Wednesday (Dec 4).
If the cost was over RM5,000, he added, the government would subsidise 70% of the remainder.
Abang Johari said this was one of several people-centric initiatives approved in the 2020 state budget.
"In our effort to be prudent and exercise good governance, we are not forgetting the need for us to lessen the burden of our rakyat, especially the low-income group.
"It is also good governance to ensure that the people are given what they rightly deserve," he said.
Abang Johari also said the main focus of the state budget next year was to develop the rural areas, with RM6.6bil out of the total RM9.9bil allocated for infrastructure and utility projects.
He said a state development and coordination committee had been formed to ensure all projects approved in the budget would be implemented and completed as scheduled.
Among the infrastructure projects are various bridges to fill in the "missing links" of the state's coastal highway.
These include the Batang Rambungan bridge project launched two weeks ago, while the Batang Saribas, Batang Krian and Batang Paloh bridge projects would be launched soon.
Abang Johari said the RM1bil Batang Lupar bridge would also be tendered out soon.
"All these bridge projects costing a few billion ringgit are tendered out on open tender basis. Lobbying for the projects is out of the question in line with our quest towards transparency and good governance," he said.
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