2024 Budget proves Federal Govt's sincere attention to Sarawak

KUCHING: The 2024 Budget demonstrates the federal government's sincerity and commitment to continue paying attention to Sarawak, said Datuk Dr Jeniri Amir.

The political analyst and senior fellow of the National Council of Professors said this was proven by the provision of an interim special grant worth RM300 million to comply with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He said the grant announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was 19 times higher than the previous allocation of RM16 million to Sarawak.

"Moreover, the RM5.8 billion allocation for development compared to RM5.6 billion last year allows the state to further bridge the development gap between Sarawak and the peninsula.

"The federal government's move to delegate the authority to implement development projects valued under RM50 million can also help accelerate and facilitate the implementation of projects that are urgently needed for the people's benefit," he told Bernama.

Jeniri said the 2024 Budget is very inclusive, taking into account the needs of all communities, with the highest allocation in history despite facing a debt burden.

"The government continues to provide the best to the people, in line with the Malaysia Madani aspirations. Let's not question it and instead be grateful for the government's ability to deal with the current challenging economic crisis," he said.

Meanwhile, senior lecturer in cognitive sciences at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Dr Mohamad Hardyman Barawi, expressed interest in the announcement regarding the digitalisation of the public sector, which could bring about positive impact in terms of efficiency and good governance in service delivery.

He said if an integrated and highly secure identity verification platform could be developed, it could save government time and resources while also increasing public trust.

"User identities are not only secure but personal data stored in the database can be accessed by any relevant agency if needed for any related matters.

"This will lead to significant cost savings and more efficient use of government resources, as well as reducing errors, especially in health-related database," he said.

Mohamad Hardyman said investors would also feel confident to continue investing if they see Malaysia developing in various aspects in line with global advancements.

In the 2024 Budget, Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, announced that the National Digital Identity development would be expedited as a reliable endorsement platform. – Bernama

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