Efforts to be intensified to improve underdeveloped states

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KUCHING: Efforts to boost the growth of underdeveloped states, including Sabah and Sarawak, will be intensified to accelerate the gross domestic product rate (GDP), says the prime minister.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob noted that besides Sabah and Sarawak, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Terengganu had slow GDP rate.

He said this when tabling the motion on the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) in Parliament on Monday (Sept 27).

“Efforts will also be undertaken to reduce the rate of poverty, particularly in Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

“At least 50 per cent of the total Federal Basic Development allocation will be distributed to the said states. The allocation will focus on the provision of basic infrastructure, digitisation, education, healthcare services and economic development.

“I will personally monitor the implementation closely.”

He assured that RM4.09 billion out of the RM7.7 billion announced during Malaysia Day would be given to Sarawak for the implementation of National Digital Infrastructure Plan or Jendela (Jalinan Digital Negara) in the 12th Malaysia Plan.

He said broadband coverage would be enhanced through the construction of digital infrastructure, including the construction of telecommunication towers or transmitters.

“As of August 2021, 2,645 digital infrastructure units have been installed in Sabah and 2,117 in Sarawak.

“As for improving electricity supply, a new power plant will be built and the Sabah East-West Grid transmission line will be upgraded.”

He added that the Baleh hydroelectric construction in Sarawak was expected to be completed in 2025.

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