The government has agreed that public works projects in East Malaysia that are valued below RM50 million may be decided by Sabah and Sarawak state administrations without going through Putrajaya.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he would also discuss with Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor regarding a new figure for a federal special allocation for Sabah and Sarawak projects soon.
“At the end of last year, I announced the need to speed up the implementation of some pending matters still delayed in the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) issue, and I have tasked Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof with the chairmanship to expedite matters.
“This is alongside Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak affairs Armizan Mohd Ali, and I congratulate them for hastening the meeting and the decisions that I consider very critical for building a close relationship,” said Anwar at a press conference in Putrajaya following today’s cabinet meeting.
Anwar said the federal leadership respects the wisdom of the leadership in both Sabah and Sarawak and trusts them to implement all the lagging projects.
“Reviews of special grants to Sabah, Sarawak under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution should be made once every five years. There was an allocation of RM16 million that was announced but not provided.
“There are some other delayed matters, for example, the decision to implement several projects was delayed because even though there are Works Departments in Sabah and Sarawak, there were too many hurdles in Putrajaya.
“Thus, even though a large allocation was given, it could not be fulfilled due to administrative red tape.
“We have decided, and the Finance Ministry has agreed that those projects under RM50 million are fully handed over to Sabah and Sarawak to implement in compliance with financial regulations. They can be made by Kuching or Kota Kinabalu without referring to federal,” he said.
Anwar added that he will be chairing a meeting in Kuching, Sarawak, on the MA63 that will be attended by Abang Johari and Hajiji.
On another matter, he said changes in the Overnight Policy Rate are determined by Bank Negara and not the Finance Ministry, and that the Bank Negara governor will also be invited to take part in drafting Budget 2023, together with the finance minister (Anwar himself) as decisions would involve general policies. – Malaysiakini