KOTA KINABALU: The high allocation given to Sabah and Sarawak, especially involving the country’s annual budget, is based on the needs of the two states, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pix).

He said he had been criticised by the opposition for giving higher allocation to Sabah and Sarawak compared to other states in the Peninsula, but emphasised that he did this based on the need to be fair to all states.

“Fairness means putting something in its place, fairness does not mean giving equally. It’s not giving an allocation of RM1 million to Sabah and Sarawak, and then giving other states RM1 billion also, we give based on the needs of the states.

“Like the water supply issue that has become a big problem in Sabah and so are the roads but other states are better, so we help spend more in Sabah because of its needs,” he said at the Meet Anwar ceremony at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), here, today.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Yusof Apdal, UMS Board of Directors chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan and UMS Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kasim Mansor.

When tabling Budget 2023 in February, Anwar announced that Sabah would receive an allocation of RM6.5 billion and Sarawak RM5.6 billion.

Anwar said that this year he made a very drastic decision, that he wants hardcore poverty nationwide to be eradicated and, as such, Sabah needs the highest allocation to do just that.

“So, there is a need to provide a high allocation to eradicate hardcore poverty in Sabah, this is not because I am pro-Sabah but this is because of our need.

“We want to ensure fairness for everyone, irrespective of whether they are in Kedah, Perlis or Sabah.. that is my position. (In) My discussions with Hajiji, the Sarawak Premier (Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg), the other Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers in the Peninsula, I have stated my position,” he said.

He said that Sabah and other states can progress with good governance, especially involving finance, leakage, wastage and state management, in general. - Bernama