Hajiji urged to increase state spending to spur Sabah's recovery

KOTA KINABALU: Opposition Sabah DAP is puzzled why Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor opted for a surplus state Budget 2022 when more funds could be allocated for economic revival.

Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin said that there was no necessity to save now as the state government should be spending on public infrastructure works to revive the economy in post Covid-19.

"Hajiji should revise his Budget 2022 as tabled in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly on Friday and allocate more money to help speed up the Sabah economy's recovery and also on public works such as flood mitigation," he said in a statement Saturday (Dec 4).

Hajiji had announced a surplus budget of RM110.68mil for 2022 with an estimated revenue collection of RM4.707bil against an estimated expenditure of RM4.596bil.

"Even the Malaysian Federal government’s Budget for 2022 is at RM332.1bil and is a major deficit when compared with the estimated revenue of RM234bil for 2022," he added.

Chan said that with such a conservative state budget, the state might not be able to resolve the pressing problem of water disruptions to homes and businesses as well as the perennial flood problems in the Kota Kinabalu and its greater areas.

Sabah's GDP per capita contraction was at -9.5% in 2020, which was the highest in the country during the period of the Movement Control Order (MCO), said Chan.

The Human Resource Ministry reported that a total of 2,667 youths in Sabah had lost their jobs between Jan and 5 Nov this year, with youth unemployment rate at 17.3%, he added.

"As such, the Sabah Government should spend more and should have taken the initiative to allocate funds for job creations or organising programmes which would create more job opportunities in various sectors," he added.

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