Under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also the state finance minister, Sabah could expect its reserves to continue to grow.
Sabah's reserves has increased from RM60 million in 1997, which was barely enough to pay two months' salary of the state civil service, to RM2.4 billion in 2008. Its sound financial footing saw the state government becoming the first in Malaysia to be accorded the Triple A rating by the RAM Service Sdn Bhd to indicate its ability to honour its financial commitments.
Former State Finance Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kassim said under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also the state finance minister, Sabah could expect its reserves to continue to grow.
"I believe the state reserves further increased last year but I cannot disclose the figure as it is not official yet," said Yusoff. Yusoff, who retired last Sunday, was speaking at a farewell dinner hosted by the ministry.
Attributing the state's strong financial footing to sound financial management and prudent spending, Yusoff said the ministry has continuously been given a clean certification by the auditor-general's office.
Yusoff, who was the ministry's budget director before being promoted to deputy permanent secretary I in 2005 and a year later as permanent secretary, said the state's financial standing became stronger after the scrapping of the chief minister rotation system in 2003.
Introduced in 1994 when Barisan Nasional took over the state administration from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), the rotation system was to allow leaders from the Muslim Bumiputera, non-Muslim Bumiputera and Chinese community to take turns to hold the chief minister's post every two years.
"We only barely survived (between 1997-2003) and it was made complicated with the change in chief minister every two years," he said.
He added that the BN government then was having so much on its hands as it had so many promises to the people that needed to be fulfilled.