KUCHING, Nov 20 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, in presenting the state Budget 2024 today in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today, urged the federal government to increase its allocation to the state.
He said under the federal Budget 2024 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the federal allocation to Sarawak for development purposes was increased from RM5.6 billion for 2023 to RM5.8 billion for next year.
“However, this allocation of RM5.8 billion represents only 6.4 per cent of the total federal development Budget of RM90 billion for 2024.
“It is obviously far from enough to meet our development needs and address the imbalances between Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, and our federal counterpart knows this very well,” Abang Johari, who is also the state finance and new economy minister, stressed.
He added that given Sarawak’s significant contribution to the national economic growth, as well as the federal coffer, especially revenue from oil and gas, there ought to be much more allocation to the state in the future federal Budget.
The premier also said the state government will continue with the efforts to protect Sarawak’s interests and rights within the Federation of Malaysia.
“Therefore, the GPS state government will continue with its commitment to get back what those rights are under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that have been eroded,” he said.
However, he said a number of the rights have been returned to the state since the time of his predecessor the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
He said the latest is the Bintulu Port where the federal government has agreed to return to Sarawak.
He said efforts will be made to ensure that the return of the port is materialised.
“We will also be making efforts to have control over education, health and environment from the federal government. O urge the federal government to listen and understand the aspirations of the people of Sarawak so that the future of Malaysia will always be in peace and guaranteed for a long time.
“I am confident and believe that the good and close relationship between the state and federal government now will give the final solutions to what we have hoped for,” he said.