SIBU - The Sarawak government has initiated a "catch-up" plan to speed up development, says Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
The Chief Minister said Sarawak was obviously lagging behind for the past 50 years compared with the progress in other states in the peninsula.
"We need public amenities like roads, electricity, water, schools, hospitals and social services. What the semenanjung has, we want to have also. We do not want to be left behind. We have wasted enough time already for the last 50 years.
"It is time the state had a catch-up plan to match the rest in peninsular Malaysia," he said in his speech yesterday to mark the 79th birthday celebration of Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Adenan noted that with the country headed for developed status by 2020, the state government expected Sarawak to follow suit in 2030.
"We don't mind that we will be 10 years behind as long as we catch up," he said, adding that he would continue with the many policies initiated by his predecessor, Abdul Taib, who governed the state from 1981 to 2014.
Adenan added his top priority was to narrow the gap between the rural poor and the urban rich, as aspired under the 11th Malaysia Plan and the coming budget.
The Chief Minister also reiterated the state's other moves, including pursuing autonomy from the Federal Government, continuing to ban religious bigots and extremism in the state, and appealing to the federal authorities to increase the state's oil royalties from 5 per cent to 20 per cent.
He also paid tribute to Abdul Taib, whom he said played a major role in transforming the state during his time as chief minister.