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TYT: State authorities must aggressively increase Sabah’s revenue, improve people’s well-being


Juhar (third right) is seen with (from right) Speaker Datuk Seri Kadzim M Yahya, Hajiji, Juhar’s wife Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni, Hajiji’s wife Datuk Juliah Salag, and Kadzim’s wife Datin Seri Noraini Salleh during the opening of the 16th State Assembly sitting.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin has called on all ministries, departments, and revenue collection agencies to play their respective roles more effectively by implementing initiatives to increase the state’s coffers, especially in exploring new sources of revenue.

He said Sabah’s government-linked companies (GLCs) must also be more aggressive in carrying out socioeconomic activities to increase the state’s revenue and improve the well-being of the people.

“For that, the state government will continue to strengthen the governance and management of GLCs so that they can more viably generate sources of revenue for the state government through the distribution of dividends and declared contributions.

“In addition, the state government will empower financial management and performance through better governance and an efficient and effective financial strategy.

“The state budget will also continue to be strengthened through engagements with stakeholders, the development of a new system to avoid leakages and improve circulars, procedures, and guidelines for financial management,” he said in his address for the opening of the 16th State Legislative Assembly sitting here today.

He praised the state government for collecting a record-breaking revenue of RM6.974 billion in 2023, which surpassed the RM6.960 billion record the previous year, and commended Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Haji Noor along with the state Cabinet, civil servants, as well as all other parties who have contributed to ensure the state’s revenue collection momentum continues to progressively increase.

He noted another high-impact achievement by the Sabah government was the signing of the Commercial Cooperation Agreement (CCA) with Petroleum Nasional Berhad (Petronas) as through this agreement, the state has the opportunity to obtain an equity stake in the Oil and Gas (O&G) industry, which was realised when the Sabah-owned SMJ Energy Sdn Bhd took over a 25 per cent equity interest in Sabah Chemicals Fertilizer Company Sdn Bhd, giving local companies the chance to be given priority to be suppliers to Petronas in O&G activities, ultimately allowing the state to enjoy higher revenue from O&G activities implemented based on the CCA.

In addition, he said the Sabah government has also been carrying out initiatives to expand the scope of taxation for petroleum products, specifically methanol, and it is refining more new revenue potential through several types of products in an effort to diversify the state’s revenue base and to strengthen the state’s revenue potential through the exploration of the O&G industry.

At the same time, he said the state government remains committed to fighting for Sabah’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), especially in the demand for the Special Grant and defending the interests of the people through the MA63 Implementation Action Council, with one example being in 2023 when the state government had accepted an increase in the interim payment of the Special Grant to RM300 million compared to RM125.6 million the previous year, in addition to fees amounting to RM26.7 million per year.

“Looking forward, I put my trust and confidence in the Chief Minister along with the state Cabinet and members of the civil service to continue to lead and drive the state’s economic growth to a higher level.

“I am sure that these various development initiatives, especially the current high-impact programmes carried out and to be implemented this year, will be a game-changer, providing multiplied benefits to the people and boosting the state’s economy to a higher level,” he said.

Juhar said such initiatives include exploring the Blue Economy, which has great potential to further stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities and improve the people’s living standards in the country, and, in line with this, the Sabah International Blue Economy Conference (SIBEC) 2024 programme was held on March 6 and will be followed by the SIBEC conference in September.

He said the State Government will also continue to attract more high-impact investments from within and outside the state to create more economic spin-offs and more job opportunities for the people, with focus being given to certain key sectors in the state such as agriculture, industry, tourism and renewable energy as well as new growth sectors and carrying out more aggressive investment promotions.

He said at this time, the state government in cooperation with the federal government and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will also empower localisation efforts towards meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state to encourage sustainable development which includes various aspects such as environment, economic and social, and through this collaboration, a project is underway to facilitate the implementation, monitoring, and progress of the SDG initiatives at the state level.

He added that the 13th Malaysia Plan (13MP) 2026 to 2030 will be starting in two years’ time and as a proactive measure, this year the state government has already started making preliminary preparations in the planning of direction as well as development programmes and projects to be implemented under this plan to ensure that they are relevant with current developments and needs and in parallel with the latest state and national development direction.

“Indeed, all the successes achieved by the state of Sabah all this time are the result of earnest efforts by the state government and the people, in addition to cooperation and continuous support from the federal government to develop this state.

“So I would like to take this opportunity to record my highest appreciation and deepest gratitude to the federal government for all the continuous help and support develop the state of Sabah,” he said.

Juhar added Sabah should be proud of the harmony and peace enjoyed today, which are the result of tolerance and the spirit of mutual trust among people from various tribes, cultures, and religions, as this uniqueness is the strength of the state of Sabah, and this backbone of unity and stability must always be preserved.

“I pray for the country to be always blessed by God’s grace, Sabah to continue to progress and prosper, and the people to always live in peace and unity,” he added. – Borneo Post

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