Sabah, Sarawak to be given priority in development allocation under 12MP

KUCHING: Sabah and Sarawak will continue to receive between 15% and 18% each of the total basic development allocation annually under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

This is part of the Federal Government's commitment to ensure that less developed states are given priority in the development allocation, the plan's report said.

"A significant portion of this allocation will be channelled to the economic sectors in both states. This will contribute towards improving infrastructure and basic facilities in these two states," said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

The 12MP was tabled by Ismail Sabri in Parliament on Monday (Sept 27).

For Sabah and Sarawak, the plan will focus on enhancing socio-economic development to be on par with other states in Peninsular Malaysia.

Priorities will be given to solidifying the provision of infrastructure, optimising economic potential, improving access to social services, enhancing inclusive development and strengthening cooperation between federal agencies and state governments.

"The implementation of these measures is expected to reduce disparities between Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia and improve the wellbeing of the rakyat," he said.

Under the plan, basic infrastructure provision will be intensified in both states, including upgrading and constructing roads and bridges, improving access to clean water and electricity and enhancing broadband coverage.

Digital infrastructure will be expanded under the Pelan Jalinan Digital Negara (Jendela) to contribute to 100% broadband coverage in populated areas.

"In this regard, digital infrastructure will be provided at 382 new sites in Sabah and 636 in Sarawak."

Rural water supply coverage in both states is targeted to reach 98% by 2025, while rural electrification is targeted to reach 99% coverage.

In remote areas, alternative means of water and electricity supply will be provided, such as tube wells, gravity feed, rainwater harvesting, solar hybrid and mini-hydro.

12MP also aims to improve healthcare services in Sabah and Sarawak to ensure better access and efficient delivery, particularly in remote and rural areas.

New health clinics will be built in Penampang and Beaufort in Sabah and Samarahan, Sarikei and Miri in Sarawak, while public health clinics located far from hospitals will be equipped with birth centres, observation room facilities and X-ray services.

"A new regional blood centre will be built in Sabah, while in Sarawak, state public health and food safety laboratories will be built.

"The development of these facilities will increase the capacity of research, development and innovation in public health," the report said.

Ismail Sabri said that teaching hospitals would be built for Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak to complement efforts to produce specialists in both states.

In addition, the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will continue to be reviewed under the plan's strategies to strengthen cooperation between Federal and state authorities towards accelerating socioeconomic development in both states.

"The process of handing over the regulatory power for gas and electricity under MA63 will be continued in the 12th Plan.

"In this regard, a number of provisions in the existing law will be amended while a regulatory body will be established," said Ismail Sabri

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