Basketful of ‘goodies’ for Sabah and Sarawak in Budget 2020

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

The Pakatan Harapan government remains committed in prioritising the needs of Sabah and Sarawak through various goodies for both states announced in the 2020 Budget tabled today.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said for 2020, Sabah and Sarawak will receive the largest portion of development expenditures amounting to RM5.2 billion and RM4.4 billion respectively.

He said from 2020, the Federal Government intends to increase the Special Grant to Sabah and Sarawak under Section 112D of the Federal Constitution.

He said the rate set by the previous government was RM26.7 million for Sabah and RM16 million for Sarawak per annum and had not been reviewed and remained unchanged since 1969.

“For the first time, the Pakatan Harapan government proposes to increase the rate, doubling it for 2020 to RM53.4 million for Sabah and RM32 million for Sarawak,” he said when tabling the 2020 Budget in Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim said to reflect its care and concern for the people of Sabah and Sarawak, the government plans to double the rate again to RM106.8 million to Sabah and RM64 million for Sarawak within 5 years.

He also said that approximately RM587 million will be allocated for rural water projects, out of which RM470 million for Sabah and Sarawak to meet the nation’s target of 99% access to clean water.

Besides this, the government will also spend RM500 million on rural electrification benefiting more than 30,000 rural households, with a majority of the beneficiaries living in both states.

“To ensure that rural communities, especially in Sabah and Sarawak are able to obtain necessities including LPG and petrol at reasonable prices, the Government is allocating RM170 million towards subsidising the cost of transportation and distribution for basic goods to rural areas,” he said.

Lim also said that the government remains committed to completing the PanBorneo Highway project, an important catalyst to economic growth in Sabah and Sarawak, adding that the savings from the on-going cost rationalisation to date is RM1.2 billion, reducing the project cost to RM29 billion.