KUCHING, Jan 20 — In his Chinese New Year address today, Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said he has submitted a request to Putrajaya to institute a federal trust fund in Sarawak for projects costing up to RM50 million.
He said he hopes that the request will be approved, paving the way to give the state more power to implement projects worth RM50 million and below to prevent delays or non-implementation of approved projects in Sarawak.
“I would also like to thank the federal government for having endorsed the state Public Works Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department as technical departments within the meaning of Treasury Instruction 182 to implement projects in Sarawak," he said.
“I believe this should be the shared spirit of the state and federal governments to ensure that Sarawak can be developed faster by the orderly decentralisation of power.
“As one of the three parts of the federation of Malaysia, Sarawak should be given more attention than before to prevent lopsided development as compared to Peninsular Malaysia. After all, Sarawak is one of the three top contributors to the national coffers,” Abang Johari added.
Abang Johari also expressed his hope that other outstanding issues, particularly the formula for financial contributions to Sarawak and Sabah, will be agreed upon soon by the federal government.
He said this will enable the state to have a fair share of the return of revenue from the federal to state government, adding that the state has suggested one based on the current economic health of the country, rather than it be seen as mere handouts.
“I believe that the state’s formula is a fair mechanism to apportion federal financial contributions to Sarawak and also Sabah as provided for under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
The premier reminded the public never to take for granted their continuous unity and solidarity as Sarawakians, to ensure that the state has a firm grounding towards progress and advancement in the next eight years before ushering in the year 2030.
In January, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Finance Ministry has agreed for projects worth RM50 million and below to be handed over to Sabah and Sarawak for direct management.