The Sarawak government plans to allocate about RM4.28 billion next year to continue with the development programmes in the state.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is also state Finance Minister, said the figure would be about 72 per cent of the total budget proposed for the year with the remaining RM1.68 billion or 28 per cent for operating expenditure.

“This level of expenditure is expected to generate a fairly high level of economic activities in order to sustain the level of economic growth and employment,” he said when tabling the state’s 2014 budget at the state assembly sitting.

He said out of the total allocation for development, RM1,98 billion would be for the implementation of industrial and commercial programmes and projects, RM689 million for general administration, RM511 million for social development and community services, RM486 million for public utilities, RM438 million for transport and communications, and RM169 million for agriculture, land and rural development programmes.

Taib said on the basis of an estimated total revenue of RM4.94 billion against a total ordinary expenditure of RM4.68 billion, the proposed 2014 budget was expected to have a surplus of RM258 million.

He said it was imperative for the state government to continue with a surplus budget policy to ensure that the state’s financial position remained strong and sustainable.

“We need to spend within our means to ensure that we have sufficient financial reserves to meet future challenges.” he said.

Taib said Sarawak had also been given a clean bill of health for its 2012 public accounts by the Auditor-General, hence receiving such recognition for the 11th consecutive year.

“I wish to emphasise again that we must continue to maintain our (public accounts) clean bill of health into the future years.”