— Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed expressed high hopes that Joe Biden, who just won the US Presidential election, would accord more attention to ASEAN.
He said Biden whose victory was generally well-received by the whole world, needed to make changes considering that his predecessor Donald Trump did not pay much heed to the region.
“We hope he will bring change. For example, we in Asia felt we were being ignored because the former president as we noticed did not pay much attention to Southeast Asia, especially ASEAN,” he said.
He said this in an interview with Bernama TV on ‘Ruang Bicara Khas’ to discuss on ‘Budget 2021: Economic Agenda for the People’.
Mustapa, who served as International Trade and Industry Minister from 2009 to 2018, said US is a major economic powerhouse, contributing about 20 per cent to the world economy.
“It is the largest military power to date. Anyway, it is a powerful country,” he noted.
He also hoped that Biden would strive to boost world trade without restrictions, particularly on goods from Malaysia and other countries.
“We hope tensions will be reduced, whether economic, trade and political. We have high hopes that relations between Malaysia and the US will improve,” he said.
On Budget 2021, Mustapa said the development of Sabah and Sarawak would continue to be given prominence including in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
He said a Sabah and Sarawak socio-economic committee to address poverty would be set up by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili.
“We are aware of the high poverty rate in Sabah and Sarawak. So we need to look at the issue of poverty in a perspective different from previously,” he said.
In the 12MP, effective strategies will be drawn up to address poverty in states throughout the country.
According to the proposed budget that was tabled on Friday, Sabah and Sarawak will receive development allocations of RM5.1 billion and RM4.5 billion respectively for next year.
The allocations are for building and upgrading infrastructure such as water, electricity, roads, health facilities and education.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency