KUCHING,. Sarawakians, especially those staying in the interior, can expect more roads and bridges to ease their daily lives in the state Budget when it is unveiled on November 5.
Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg said today that the state Budget will focus on improving infrastructure and connectivity.
“It will be a testament to our commitment to fulfil the aspirations of our people to have more roads and bridges to increase connectivity and increase the coverage of treated water supply and electricity.
“Sarawak’s development is meaningless if our fellow Sarawakians living in the rural and interior areas are left behind,” he said in his address at an International Conference on Sarawak and Asean here.
He said the focus on rural developments will be centred on agriculture, tourism, forestry, palm oil, rubber and biotechnology.
He said the development of the agricultural sector must incorporate the use of the latest production technologies as well as communication and digital technology.
Abang Johari also said Sarawak experienced a GDP growth rate of 4.7 per cent in 2017, more than double the growth rate of 2.3 per cent the year before.
“This makes Sarawak the third-biggest economy, behind only Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, contributing to 9.7 per cent of Malaysia’s national GDP.
“The state has a GDP per capita of RM49,327, an increase from RM44,000 in 2016,” he said, adding that Sarawak is on track to achieve its 2020 GDP growth target of 4.7 per cent, according to MIDF Research.
He said revenue for the state is steadily improving, posting a revenue of MYR6.86 billion in 2017 compared to RM5.91 the year before — an increase of almost a billion —while exports also grew from RM77 billion in 2016 to RM96 billion 2017.
“This progress is evident, testament to the strong foundations laid in our economy and governance, but we realise that much more can and needs to be done,” he added.
He also told conference participants that Sarawak has the lowest rate of inflation at 3 per cent and an unemployment rate of 3 per cent, an improvement from 3.3 per cent in 2016.
He added the poverty rate fell from 0.9 per cent in 2014 to 0.6 per cent in 2017.