KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman has hailed the move to have him jointly chair a meeting with the federal government on rural development projects in Sabah.
He said this was a sign of closer cooperation that will benefit people in the state.
He said this was the first time he had been invited by the federal regional and rural development ministry to co-chair such a meeting.
“They (federal ministries) are not psychic. How would they really know what Sabah needs without consulting us?”
Commending Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Musa said a good working relationship between the federal and state authorities was vital for the successful planning and implementation of projects in the state.
“So I really appreciate the move on setting up the joint committee, which is being done for the first time by the present minister,” he added.
Musa told reporters this after jointly chairing with Ismail the meeting of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry-Sabah State Government Project Planning and Monitoring Main Joint Committee here today.
Prior to Ismail, the rural and regional development minister was Shafie Apdal, the MP for Semporna in Sabah, who led the ministry from 2009 to 2015. Shafie is now president of the opposition Parti Warisan Sabah.
Meanwhile, Ismail said his ministry would always consult the state on any of its development programmes there.
“The state government knows best the development needs of Sabah and therefore what projects should be implemented.”
He said all projects under the ministry must now go through a joint working committee, comprising representatives from the federal and state governments.
He said the biggest portion of the federal rural development allocation of RM927 million for Sabah this year would go towards improving road networks.
He said RM253.5 million had been set aside for this purpose. He said it accounted for 32.14% of the total allocation of RM788.7 million his ministry received for rural roads development nationwide.
Ismail also listed other funds under his ministry for Sabah, stressing that they constituted significant portions of federal money set aside for projects across Malaysia.
He said Sabah had been allocated RM220 million for power development in rural areas, amounting to 33.08% of the whole country’s allocations of RM665.1 million for power.
“For water supply, we have set aside RM160 million for Sabah, or 38.08% of the total budget of RM420.2 million for water supply nationwide.”
In addition, Sabah would also receive RM38 million to specifically improve roads in villages, which is 26.2% of the total nationwide allocation of RM145 million for the same purpose.
“RM6.5 million has been earmarked for Sabah’s social amenity programmes, which is about 14.26% of the total budget of RM45.5 million for the whole country,” he added.