LIMBANG, Aug 5 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said the state’s development programmes and economy have not been affected by the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) decision to not be affiliated with Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“As we are on our own, we are not tied to policies which could slow down our development or affect the direction of our development,” he said after visiting several development projects, including the waterfront and bridge over the Limbang River.
“Our collection of revenue is not affected, and in fact, our budget allocation has increased for this year because we have managed our economy well and our development efforts are more structured,” he added.
Abang Johari added that the state government has the freedom to implement development projects considered beneficial for the people after GPS decided to strike out on its own after the 14th general election last year.
Abang Johari said since he took over from Pehin Sri Adenan Satem as chief minister in 2017, the state government has restructured its economic development and management mechanics, even drawing praise from Tun Daim Zainuddin.
“If Daim, being Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s adviser, has said this thing, that means we are not bad,” the chief minister said.
Daim paid a courtesy call to Abang Johari three days ago, with conversations centering on the economy.
“If we are not bad in implementing development projects and managing our economy, then the people should continue to support us in the state election,” he said.
Abang Johari, however, said that the PH federal government is obliged under the Federal Constitution to provide financial grants or loans to the state government.
“It is true, based on principle, Putrajaya must allocate funds to us because all sorts of taxes, like income tax, corporate tax and road tax, are collected in Sarawak for Putrajaya.
“As such, under the Federal Constitution, they (Putrajaya) must help us in the forms of grants or loans,” he said.