Sarawak and Sabah: Budget much needed for infrastructure projects

KUCHING: Budget 2021 reflects the Federal Government’s continued commitment to bringing development to Sarawak, including the rural areas, says the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

However, DCCI secretary-general Libat Langub said in order to narrow the development gap with Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak should ideally get a bigger allocation than the proposed RM4.5bil for the state.

“This is in view of Sarawak’s vast land size compared to other states, and the urgent need to implement various infrastructure projects such as roads, water and electricity which are lacking, especially in the hinterlands, ” he said.

Libat said that under the new normal where Internet access was so vital, Budget 2021’s focus on infrastructure development and upgrading of telecommunication network was most welcome and ought to be expedited in view of the unsatisfactory services and connectivity mostly experienced by rural communities.

Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Datuk Bonipasius Bianis said that without doubt, infrastructure projects such as road and rail links announced in Budget 2021 were the catalyst for development as they opened up land, especially in the interior.

“Sabah has vast fertile land and natural resources waiting to be exploited.

“Another major facility that we need is high-speed Internet, which is a must in the 21st century as we are now talking about IR4.0, ” he said.

Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim said the state was thankful for the allocations for rural development in Sabah, despite the country’s economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The funding allocated under the national Budget is still commendable, ” he said.

However, Jahid said Sabah would like to be given the authority to implement these programmes as far as possible.

“This is because we know the ground better, ” he said.

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