How about Kuching as Malaysia’s capital No. 2?

Jaziri Alkaf
Senator Jaziri Alkaf

KUCHING: A senator has suggested that Kuching City be made the second capital of Malaysia.

Jaziri Alkaf Abdillah Suffian said the proposal — if viable in the future — should be looked into.

The Sarawak Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman made the suggestion after considering the position of Borneo which would be the focal point for the Asean region with the shifting of the new Indonesian capital to east Kalimantan in a few years.

“This is because the location of the new capital, which is located between Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara and which is under the auspices of two cities, Balikpapan and Samarinda, has reportedly been allocated USD32 billion by the Indonesian government and is expected to be fully operational by 2025,” he said when debating the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) motion on Monday (Oct 18).

Continued Jaziri: “The development will of course strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia and Indonesia because more people will visit each other and will bring prosperity to Kalimantan which in turn will be able to bring prosperity to Sarawak and Sabah.

“Therefore, taking into account its geographical location close to Sarawak and Sabah, the development of the new Indonesian capital will be a catalyst for inter-regional development for the two countries which can bring many benefits and prosperity.”

On the 12MP allocation for Sarawak and Sabah, he felt it should be increased to intensify and boost growth in the two states.

“This increase in allocation not only refers to the development of basic infrastructure, digitisation, healthcare services, and economic development but also includes human capital development and education, as stated in the 12MP.

“Therefore, I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister can allocate at least 50 percent of the total federal basic development allocation for Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.

Jaziri, who is also Sarawak Bersatu chairman, stressed that efforts to increase this allocation were important when the new Indonesian capital was fully operational because the various communication facilities by air, sea and air between the two countries would need to be further strengthened.

“This is important because the relocation of the Indonesian capital will also bring prosperity to Sarawak and Sabah which needs to be shared to all citizens.

“It is therefore necessary that balanced development can be implemented in preparation for a more rapid development in the future in Borneo itself.

“What is more is that by 2050, Indonesia will be the fourth largest economy in the world after China, the US and India, even bigger than Japan. So, the impact will also be felt in Sarawak, Malaysia and in the Asean region,” he added.

In light of this, Jaziri said it was time for development in Sarawak and Sabah to be in line with development in the new capital of Indonesia later.

“We do not want to continue to be left behind where there is rapid development in Kalimantan but Sarawak and Sabah are lagging behind and our people still not getting any benefit from this rapid development,” he said.