MPs from Sarawak have welcomed the action plan for development in the government’s economic layout for the next five years but urge Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to focus more on initiatives for rural areas in the state.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they voiced hope that Putrajaya would push for more public expenditure for development to keep the momentum going despite political uncertainties.
Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said more allocations for infrastructure projects should be given to Sarawak, especially for rural areas.
He said the focus should be on improving connectivity, communications, electricity supply and education in addition to healthcare to ensure that no one is left behind.
“The people of Sarawak and Sabah have been longing to enjoy development similar to that in the peninsula,” he said.
Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin agreed, saying policies should be carried out decisively to ensure that all social groups can benefit.
“There is a detailed set of development actions to make a significant difference in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
“These actions are aimed at delivering tangible results and ensuring a sustainable impact on Sarawak’s economic potential, green growth, infrastructure investment, digital transformation, connectivity, improved access to basic necessities and much more.”
He welcomed the development action plan as comprehensive in nature despite the impact of the pandemic on all parties including the federal government.
“Everyone is struggling as a single entity – a unified whole,” he said. “If some plans are ignored, others will be less effective, as economic agendas for national prosperity with high potential cannot be fully maximised.”
Wan Junaidi, who is minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, also urged Ismail to help stimulate the transformation agenda in the government and Parliament to settle issues related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“This is the hard truth: more than 40% of the people in Borneo are still living in rural areas, lacking basic facilities and infrastructure.
“This was the ‘unspoken promise’ to the people in Sarawak and Sabah upon joining Malaysia – that they too could enjoy a similar development status,” he said.