Abang Johari (right) with his budget speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) last November. On his right is Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas. In his budget speech, he allocated a total of RM6.597 billion for development purposes from the total of RM9.891 State 2020 Budget. Photo: Ramidi Subari

It is no secret that Sarawakians always envied their Malayan counterparts for the pace of development across the South China Sea.

After playing catch-up for the last 56 years and finally standing on its own two feet, Sarawak has had enough.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg made it a point for the state to be as developed if not more than Malaya.

In doing this, he announced what was the largest development budget tabled in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) leaving the Malayan leaning opposition members red-faced.

RM9.076 billion was set aside for development in the RM11.9 billion State 2019 Budget. 

In the State 2020 Budget, a total of RM6.597 billion out of the total RM9.891 billion was channelled towards development.

Some 63 per cent or RM4.141 billion of the development allocation is for rural development.

A bird’s eye view of the State Legislative Assembly building on the banks of Sarawak River with a section of Petra Jaya in the background.

To put that into context, Putrajaya, or rather Malaya, the state’s partner in the Malaysia federation only allocated RM4.4 billion to Sarawak for the same purpose in the Federal 2020 Budget.

Abang Johari viewed that to propel Sarawak forward, it could not rely on the usual annual allocation in the federal and state budget which he described as far from sufficient.  

A view of the Darul Hana bridge taken from a tambang while crossing the Sarawak River. Photo: Ghazali Bujang
The hydrogen powered car — energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Photo: Nadim Bokhari