Chief Minister Adenan Satem has envisaged that the state budget for 2017 will again be largely development-oriented like this year.
He said in the 2016 Budget, amounting to RM5.97 billion, 74 per cent of it has been allocated to development expenditure.
“I believe that the 2017 Budget will largely retain the same theme as in the previous year and continue to be development biased, especially for (Sarawak) rural areas.
“It is important that the infrastructure focused policies continue on until 2020 and even beyond,” he said when officiating the one-day Malaysia Development Bank’s Infrastructure Forum 2016, attended by some 100 participants here today.
The text of his speech was delivered by his deputy, Dr James Jemut Masing, who is also state Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister.
He said the state was now one of the top investment destinations in the country and had attracted a total investment of RM11.9 billion taking second spot after Johore in terms of value of project investment approved last year.
However, he said, it still needed a lot of infrastructure development owing to its very huge area, scattered population and low population density.
Many rural areas were still largely deprived of basic needs, such as roads, water and electricity supply and accessibility to healthcare and education, he said.,
Adenan said the state must first provide the right ecosystem to attract investment in order to expedite its industrialisation process.
“So we need more roads, airports, ports and utilities, which include water, power, telecommunication and ICT infrastructure, to be made available as they are the crucial ingredients to boost business and investment activities,” he added.