SARIKEI: The Ministry of Rural and Regional Development has received an allocation of RM871.24 million for Sarawak in 2024, an increase of RM16.14 million (1.85 per cent) compared to 2023, making it the second-highest allocation after Sabah.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the funding covers 287 programmes or projects, including 70 new initiatives and 217 ongoing projects, with a total cost of RM15.01 billion under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

“As the responsible minister, I will certainly continue to play a role in the development of rural areas in Sarawak, to help the state government to ensure that, especially, infrastructure in rural areas can be given due consideration,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said this at the Pre-Gawai Sarikei 2024 celebration, here, today.

He added that among the focus areas are bridge construction, provision of electricity and clean water and telecommunication services.

He said since telecommunications in this country has been upgraded to 5G, it will not only be provided in places with a large population.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is deeply concerned and wants that the interior areas in Sarawak and Sabah should get 5G coverage so that we can connect with the outside world.

“This is especially important for students, whether they are in primary school or secondary school, or those in higher education, and this should be implemented as soon as possible,” he said while expressing confidence that the Digital Ministry will do it as soon as possible.

For this year’s Gawai celebration, he prayed that more development be brought to Sarawak.

However, for that to happen, political stability, unity and harmony between races must continue to be maintained, he said.