Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad

KUCHING: The federal government would complement Sarawak’s initiative to transform its rural areas into urban areas, said Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad.

He lauded Sarawak’s initiative to introduce development agencies under the Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) to foster development in the rural interiors.

He said the move by the state government mirrored that of the federal government in Malaya where rural areas were transformed into urban areas with the help of regional agencies.

“I am proud that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has done the same programme in Sarawak and we will complement it.

“Whichever is not enough, we will cover (for the state government) and those which we can help, we will. With that focus, there will no longer be anyone in the rural areas that will be left out,” he said in a speech last Friday night in Lawas.

“At the ministry, we know that our stakeholders are the seven million rural people while there are about 70 percent of Sarawakians living in rural areas.

“This means that of the seven million, at least 2.5 million are Sarawakians. They are our stakeholders and our responsibility. We are here and we will come back to see what we have promised will take shape,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who was also present at the function, said the establishment of regional development agencies in Sarawak was mooted by Abang Johari to coordinate development projects statewide.

“The chief minister decided that we form agencies under Recoda, so we formed Upper Rajang Development Agency (Urda), Highland Development Agency (HDA) and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA).

“Each agency is allocated RM1.5 billion and for NRDA which I head, we give priority to infrastructure and basic facilities,” he said.