KUCHING: A growth centre has been proposed between Muara Mongkos and Kampung Bunan, which is located near the border with Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Martin Ben (GPS-Kedup), when making the proposal during his debate on the State Budget 2019 in the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday, said that historically, Muara Mongkos has been a trading centre where traders from both sides of the border converged to conduct their business.
“The area has grown to become a centre of economic and social activities, thanks to the cross-border trade that has grown over the years.
“In light of the changes taking shape in the area and nearby hinterland and the socio-economic prospect the future holds for the local population, I would like to propose a growth centre between Muara Mongkos and Kampung Bunan which will contribute to consolidating the socio-economic development and growth of the area,” he said.
Martin further added the proposed growth centre would cover 25 villages within a 7-10km radius in the area and the combined population of close to 10,000 provided the much-needed critical mass to support the growth.
“With the centre set up, opportunities will present itself for the development of rural entrepreneurship.
“These include opportunities for trading, skill training for rural youths, and development of local handicraft industry and local tourism,” he said.
According to him, the area now has approximately 4,000 hectares of oil palm estates and more than 1,000 hectares of small holder lots; the plantation business will be a core activity to drive the economy of the proposed growth centre.
“Other prospective activities are repair and maintenance services and other support services to cater to the needs of the plantation and agriculture sector.
“Also, with the setting up of the growth centre in the proposed area, the problem of rural-urban migration could be effectively mitigated at the source.
“But above all, the growth centre will open up the area and the nearby villages to a new vista of opportunities and the long- term plan for further sustainable development,” Martin said.