by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA
KOTA KINABALU – Tomorrow will be exactly 100 days Datuk Hajiji Noor (picture) is leading the administration of the Sabah state government as the 16th Chief Minister in the face of various challenges especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite having to meet various testing challenges within 100 days due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hajiji, who was sworn in on Sept 29 last year, reiterated the pledges he made to the people during the Sabah state election, will be fulfilled by the GRS government.
He said during the recent Sabah election, GRS had outlined its commitment with nine main thrusts namely Sabah rights, infrastructure, economy, employment, public service, health and well-being, education and human capital, security, and youth and women’s development.
“In the 100 days Pledge of the government, our have formulated programmes and are implementing them, but the problems we faced when this new government was formed including COVID-19 has slowed down the implementation of the planned programmes.
“However, the Pledge and the programmes we planned would be implemented as best as possible after the COVID-19 pandemic has eased… the GRS government has actually implemented some of the nine core thrusts and is committed to implementing them as soon as possible,” he said in an interview with Bernama and RTM.
To realise what was promised to the people, Hajiji said the good relationship between the state and federal governments has now helped to solve various problems, in fact the warm ties has been successfully been translated into various benefits enjoyed by the state and the people themselves.
Giving an example, he said, the close state and federal government relations has helped in the effort to obtain a 5 per cent sales tax collection from Petronas which could be used to help develop the people and the state.
“If we want to move forward and ensure our people progress, we have to work with the federal government … the federal government is also formed by the state of Sabah with Sabahans, Sabah leaders and government officials from Sabah involved in the federal government.
“We need the help of the federal government, I do not like confrontation, we will be prudent in getting our rights … as Sabahans we have the right to protection and obtain what we should get from the federal government,” he said.
He said Sabah’s rights are enshrined in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63) and the state government would give priority to obtain the rights of the state, among others involving the devolution of power from the federal government to the state.
Hajiji said another important focus of the state government was to develop the infrastructure and maintenance system of Sabah public facilities where the GRS government allocated RM1.6 billion from the RM4.3 billion Sabah Budget 2021, tabled on Dec 18 last year.
He said in the budget debate, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin stressed that Sabah was looking into ways to accelerate the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway which is important for Sabah, including Private Financing Initiative (PFI).
He said the GRS government is currently focusing on reviving and redeveloping the state economy which has been hit by COVID-19 among others by helping affected entrepreneurs.
“I have started drafting a five-year plan on Dec 8, the formation of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council and Invest Sabah Bhd. I have also directed the construction of a new Sabah economic model which will provide stable long-term economic growth,” he said.
Apart from that, he said the state government also introduced the Sabah Maju Jaya Development Plan 2021-2025 to revitalise the state’s development which, among others, to focus on addressing public health issues and also formulate strategies to stimulate state development.
He said what was important for the GRS government was to create a conducive economic and business environment to enable the people to obtain jobs and develop businesses where this environment is important to create a sustainable state economy in the long run.
“The unity and support of the people of Sabah regardless of background is important for us to achieve this goal. I will continue to be the Chief Minister to serve all Sabahans regardless of race, religion or political stand,” he said.