KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob kept his word by giving attention to Sabah in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said the five-year national development plan is in line with the assurance given by Ismail Sabri during the recent Malaysia Day celebrations here, that all issues regarding Sabah and Sarawak, especially on development and matters related to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), will be given special attention.
However, the Sabah government hoped that the Federal Government would be able to provide a timeline in resolving the issues with MA63, he said in a statement in reaction to the 12MP that was tabled in Parliament on Monday (Sept 27).
Besides a commitment to resolving MA63 issues as well as accelerating socioeconomic development in Sabah and Sarawak, Ismail Sabri said in tabling the 12MP that the two states, as well as other less developed states in the country, would receive about 50% of the total basic development allocation under the plan.
“This will definitely ensure Sabah stays in the country’s development mainstream.
“We also welcome the beefing up of security, particularly in Sabah, as underlined under the fourth focus of the 12MP that will see new army camps being set up in Kota Belud and Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu as well as a General Operations Force (GOF) Battalion Camp in Beluran,” Hajiji added.
On basic amenities like power supply, he said although the upgrading of the Sabah East-West power grid and the construction of new power plants to boost power supply in the state was touched on, the proposed Southern Link Grid was not mentioned in the 12MP.
“The state government hoped the Southern Link Grid would be approved in the 12MP because it is a priority project for Sabah,” he added.
Assuring that the state government will provide its fullest cooperation to see development programmes in 12MP executed successfully, Hajiji also hoped there would be "quantifiable monitoring" of all the development plans set out for Sabah.
“The state government believes this will be an effective way of ensuring that the planned developments are completed during the 12MP period,” he said.
On the National Digital Networking (Jendela) programme where Sabah would get RM3.1bil to upgrade and build new telecommunication towers as the country moved towards greater 4G and 5G penetration, he said this was something the people were looking forward to, especially those in areas sorely in need of better digital connectivity.
At the same time, Sabah also agreed with the need for proposed special units to be formed at district offices to address poverty issues.
“The state government concurs with the approach since it is in line with our plans.
“We also appreciate Putrajaya's sensitivity to Sabah’s healthcare needs, as shown by the announcement that new health clinics will be built as well as a new regional blood centre in Sabah,” he said.