KUCHING, Oct 12 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has announced a budget of RM10.136 billion for 2022 as the state government plans to focus on helping the people and economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Sarawak Budget 2022 was formulated against the performance of global and domestic economies, as well as the state’s growth forecast for next year.
“With the estimated revenue of RM10.036 billion and expected expenditure of RM10.646 billion, the state’s Budget 2022 is expected to incur a deficit of RM610 million.
“It is critical at this juncture, given the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the state economy and the livelihoods of the people. The state government ought to embark on fiscal expansionary policy to boost productivity and revive the economy,” he told a press conference after presenting the budget to assemblymen at a special meeting at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here today.
Abang Johari said in line with the powers entrusted in the Sarawak Chief Minister or the State Financial Authority under Section 11 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021, he approved the Sarawak Budget 2022 with the consent of the state Cabinet on Oct 11, 2011.
Earlier, Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar said the need for the state budget to get the state assembly approval was not compulsory as enshrined under Section 11 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021.
Abang Johari, who is also state Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said among the core strategies underlined in the budget was the proposed Housing Deposit Assistance Scheme of up to RM10,000 to help those in the B40 and M40 groups make homeownership deposit payments.
“The budget will also help the people through the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 8.0 where RM285.47 million will be allocated next year, as well as provide electricity bill deduction and a one-off grant of RM500 to passenger boat operators, as well as taxi, school bus and van drivers,” he said.
Besides, Abang Johari said Sarawak civil servants would be given a bonus of one-and-a-half month salary and RM500 for federal civil servants in appreciation of their services and contribution in managing the government machinery, especially in the challenging pandemic situation.