Sarawak exceeds last year’s revenue expectations by RM2bil

KUCHING: Sarawak exceeded its estimated revenue last year by nearly RM2bil, collecting RM11.9bil in total, says Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this was the state’s highest ever revenue to date, surpassing the projected figure by 17%.

“We budgeted an estimated income of RM10.2bil, but it turned out the actual revenue was nearly RM12bil, giving us a surplus of RM1bil to the state budget last year,” he told a press conference at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly complex here yesterday.

He said the figure did not include the RM300mil special grant from the Federal Government that was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last month.

“The RM300mil is for this year so based on that, we expect the 2023 revenue to be more than RM1.2bil.

“I want to stress that it is the 2022 revenue that is beyond our expectations,” he said, adding that said Sarawak’s revenue mainly comprised tax revenue, non-tax revenue, non-revenue receipts, and federal grants and reimbursements.

Tax revenue contributed about RM6.7bil, or 56%, to the total revenue last year, of which RM5.6bil came from state sales tax (SST) on oil and gas products, oil palm products, aluminium and other taxable products.

The improved performance in SST collection was due to higher market prices in 2022 for oil and gas products and oil palm products, Abang Johari said.

He added that Sarawak’s revenue in 2018 – prior to the introduction of SST on oil and gas products – stood at RM7.2bil.

“Therefore, the revenue performance for the financial year 2022 saw an increase of 65% compared to that of 2018,” he said, adding that the state government would keep looking into key initiatives to increase Sarawak’s revenue by enhancing and diversifying its revenue sources.New initiatives introduced last year included enforcing the state’s dividend policy on statutory bodies and government-linked companies and imposing SST on coal, he noted.

“These efforts are imperative as the state government continues to pursue its development agenda for Sarawak to become a high-income economy by 2030, as clearly outlined in the post-Covid-19 development strategy 2030,” he said.

He also announced that the state government would extend electricity bill discounts under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang financial aid package until June this year.

To a separate question on the tallest flag pole project in Kuching, he said it was proposed by the private sector, adding: “They want to contribute since this year we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Malaysia’s formation.”

The project had drawn flak for its reported RM30mil cost, which the state government clarified would be funded by the private sector as a corporate social responsibility contribution.

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