Close relations with federal government crucial for Sarawak's development, says Wan Junaidi

Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (second left) inspecting the guard of honour at the opening parade of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly's first meeting this year on Monday (May 6). - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Close ties between the Sarawak and federal governments are vital for development, says Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said Sarawak still needs financial allocations and ongoing commitment from Putrajaya to implement development projects.

"In this respect, I urge the federal government to continue providing sufficient development funds in line with Sarawak's rights and status as a region (in Malaysia).

"This is particularly needed for education, health, security, border development and road networks," he said when opening the Sarawak Legislative Assembly meeting on Monday (May 6).

Wan Junaidi said the Sarawak government is committed to providing quality education and health facilities for the people.

"I am pleased that the federal government has agreed with the state government's approach to implement education and health projects at its own cost first, to be reimbursed later by the federal government.

"Through this approach, the development of education and health facilities in Sarawak can be sped up," he said.

Wan Junaidi also called on the federal government to give attention to border security in Sarawak.

He said this included building and upgrading immigration, customs, quarantine and security complexes as well as border posts along Sarawak's borders with Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"These facilities are important to ensure security and facilitate the movement of goods and people in order to optimise cross-border economic activities," he said.

In addition, Wan Junaidi said Sarawak needed federal funds and support for Infrastructure development such as roads, water and electricity supply, flood mitigation projects, river erosion control, and telecommunications.

"I hope the federal government will remain committed in implementing basic infrastructure projects in Sarawak to ensure the people's wellbeing and spur socio-economic growth," he said.

On a related matter, Wan Junaidi urged the Sarawak government to continue efforts to reclaim eroded rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He expressed appreciation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for forming the MA63 implementation action council and technical committee as a platform to discuss Sarawak’s claims.

"The restoration of Sarawak’s rights as enshrined in MA63 is something close to my heart.

"With the close cooperation and relationship between the Sarawak and federal governments, I am confident that our rights and claims under MA63 can be realised," he said.

Earlier, Wan Junaidi inspected a 105-member guard of honour by the General Operations Force during the opening parade.

They were accompanied by a 40-member police band which played the state and national anthems.

This was the first time Wan Junaidi opened the Sarawak Legislative Assembly meeting since being appointed Yang di-Pertua Negeri on Jan 26, succeeding Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Prior to his speech, the assemblymen observed a minute's silence in honour of Taib, who passed away on Feb 21.

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