KUALA LUMPUR:The 2020 Budget is inclusive and provides significant enablers for economic growth in Sabah, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said today.
"Sabah is a big state and the third highest population in Malaysia, as well as the second largest in size.
"The state needs a lot of allocation. The RM5.2 billion is 17 per cent of the total development budget.
"It (2020 Budget) is a good budget as compared to previous years. We are aware of the world economic situation and the huge debts that needed to be settled," said the Semporna member of parliament after the tabling of 2020 Budget here.
Shafie also thanked the Federal government and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for allocating huge sums of funds for electricity, water and road as enablers for economic growth in the state.
On the continuation of Pan Borneo Highway project, he said the move could cut the project's operating costs and attract more investors into the state.
As for security, Shafie hoped that more allocation from Defence Ministry and Home Ministry would flow into the state.
"I hope not only the asset, but on operating costs. If there is no fuel, those boats are grounded." he said.
As for the doubled annual special allocation for Sabah from RM26.7 million since 1970s to RM53.4 million next year, he pointed out that the increment would help Sabah financially although the amount was considered small.
Meanwhile, Sarawak state government believed that as the largest state in the country, it deserved more allocation.
Its Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian was disappointed that out of the 2020 Budget, both Sabah and Sarawak only received 16 per cent of allocation.
"It is again a "Malaya-centric" budget and Pakatan Harapan has failed to keep their promise of 30 per cent for Sabah and Sarawak," he said.
"They also failed to provide the necessary amount or funds for Sarawak to be as developed as the Peninsular Malaysia.
"Hence, it is high time for the Federal government to speed up the process to return more autonomy rights listed in Malaysia Agreement 1963 to the state, including money (certain revenues). So that we can develop Sarawak ourselves," said the Sarawak United People's Party president.
Meanwhile, Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen argued that Sarawak has received the most allocation, compared to all the past years under Barisan Nasional.
The budget, he said, was business friendly, with diverse grants and a lot of tax exemptions, which will encourage more entrepreneurial effort.
"It also provides a clear direction for the economy and business sectors to move towards digitalization and IR4.0."
The Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said the government also encouraged employment and moved away from over-dependence on foreign labours.
"It is a budget for all as everyone is expected to benefit from it."
"With a clean government, the taxpayers’ money can go a long way to help the people, economy and country." he said.