FCAS urges Federal govt to expedite upgrading of Sabah’s healthcare, internet service and basic infrastructure



KOTA KINABALUThe Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has welcomed the allocation of RM6.3 billion in Budget 2023 for Sabah’s development.

Its President Tan Sri T.C Goh however hoped the Federal government could strive to better improve the quality of public healthcare services, broadband service, and basic infrastructure, which is obviously still lagging behind other states.

He said, the Covid-19 pandemic in the past three years had exposed the glaring shortcoming in these three sectors in the less developed states, Sabah included, especially in the rural areas, which has evidently affected the people and businesses.

He cited for example, during the pandemic period, some students in the interior of Sabah had to climb up the trees, in order to acquire internet connection for them to conduct online learning, since all the schools were ordered to close.

He thus hoped the Federal government could through the Budget 2023 or the ongoing 12th Malaysia Plan (2021 – 2025), to step up efforts to better improve the standard of these three sectors, so that the distressing episode of students climbing up the trees to acquire internet connectivity, will not recur in future.

In a statement issued today, Goh who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) said, in principal, he welcomed the Federal government allocation of RM6.3 billion in Budget 2013 for Sabah’s development which covered basic infrastructure development, electricity and water supply, public healthcare service, education development etc.

He also noted that the allocation of RM6.3 billion for Sabah, next year, was an increase of 20.45% as compared to this year’s allocation of RM5.2 billion; it is also higher than the previous year’s allocation of RM5.1 billion, and also more than the allocation for Sarawak, which is RM5.4 billion, for 2023.

He further noted that, among the key allocations in Budget 2023 for Sabah are as follows:

1. Continuation of the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah, which is expected to be completed in 2024.

2. The construction of the road connecting Kalabakan to Simanggaris in Indonesia.

3. Allocation of RM250 mil for developing the Sepanggar Bay Container Port next year.

4. Allocation of RM290 mil in subsidies for air transport to benefit people living in rural Sabah and Sarawak.

5. Allocation to upgrade public transport of Kota Kinabalu City.

6. The government would improve the infrastructure at seven airports in Sabah and Sarawak and this included building wheelchair ramps.

7. Allocation to increase the ceiling rate (from RM68,000 to RM79,000) to build new homes and the construction of 3,000 new homes including in Sabah and Sarawak.

8. The government is increasing the rate for cooked food under the Supplementary Food Plan (RMT) from RM3 to RM4 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, effective this month.

9. The government will start building five new schools at a cost of RM430 million in 2023, and one of them is SMK Nabalu, in Sabah.

10. The Ministry of Education is setting aside RM1.2 billion to replace old wooden school buildings in Sarawak and Sabah, with 123 such schools located in Sabah.

11. Job seekers from Sabah and Sarawak will receive a one-off RM1,000 mobility assistance payment to help them secure jobs in Peninsular Malaysia. Those from the peninsula looking for jobs in Sabah and Sarawak will also receive similar assistance.

12. The government has allocated RM47 million to construct two additional field hospitals, which will be completed by the end of this year, in Kluang, Johor, and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, for deployment in the event of a disaster.

13. Allocation of RM420 million for the repairs and replacement of outdated equipment in health facilities in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, and to equip selected hospitals with CT scan machines.

14. A new government clinic will be constructed in Penampang District.

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