KUCHING: The perception held by several quarters that Sarawak is a rich state but its people are poor are not accurate, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“It’s a paradox; yes, Sarawak is rich when you look at it per capita, but you must realise that the gross domestic product (GDP) derived from goods and services also include proceeds from oil and gas.
“All of this goes to Putrajaya through Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), so this does not fully represent the state’s economy.
“That is why we are targeting infrastructure development as we want Sarawak to progress as it has the necessary infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Secondly is electricity and water supply as well as internet,” he said.
He said this during an interview on post-2021 Budget on TVS on Thursday night.
Abang Johari said the state government intends to bridge the rural and urban gap in terms of development and is allocating a substantial amount of funds to do so.
“In terms of education, it will require the necessary infrastructure. Students won’t be able to learn in the dark — so electricity must be provided as well as clean water.
“These are part of the ecosystem that we have to provide to propel Sarawak into being a developed state by 2030,” he said.
The chief minister also said the setting up of Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) had been instrumental in allowing development in Sarawak to be expedited.
“We also saw a huge opportunity to impose sales tax on our commodities and products and we expect our revenue to reach RM10 billion.
“With our approach, we are able to generate more revenue and chart the development that is needed in our state,” he said.