Quality basic amenities by 2025

KOTA KINABALU:  The Rural Development Ministry will ensure that about 95 per cent of rural population, especially in Sabah will enjoy quality and efficient basic infrastructure such as roads,  electricity and water supply by 2025.

Its minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun said the target was in line with the Rural Development Policy 2030 which, among others, was aimed at achieving the vision of prospering the rural population within ten years  covering  human, social and economic development.

She said the infrastructure development needed to be strengthened as there were rural areas, especially in the interior that were still missing out on quality basic amenities and it was also an important commitment to support the passion and ideas of rural entrepreneurs to expand their business to the wider market.

“We (the ministry) recognise that in order to improve rural entrepreneurship, infrastructure facilities need to be made available. Therefore, in the Rural Development Policy 2030, we set the target that by 2025, this basic facility can be enjoyed by 95 per cent of the rural population.

“We will seek to attract investors in rural areas to create employment opportunities that will drive development there. The internet access will also be strengthened so that rural entrepreneurs can do business online.

“The ministry has 191 rural community centres nationwide and their  roles and programmes will be enhanced so that it can serve as a hub for villagers to send their products to market,” she told reporters after the opening ceremony of the Sabah zone’s Village Entrepreneur Carnival (KUD) here yesterday.

The event was officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal and attended by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is also state Trade and Industry Minister and Datuk Ewon Benedick, state Rural Development Minister.

Rina said as of July 31, the federal government had spent RM200,571,938 on rural infrastructure projects in Sabah including roads, water and electricity supply as well as social amenities programmes.

It was part of the RM1.14 billion allocation provided to develop the infrastructure in Sabah this year, she said.

On KUD carnival, Rina said it was the first time the carnival was held in Sabah.

It was aimed at attracting more rural entrepreneurs to promote their products directly to consumers.

She said Sabah, the third location of the KUD carnival, had attracted the participation of 350 rural entrepreneurs; 79 per cent of them were female entrepreneurs and RM3 million of sales were targeted during the four-day event.

She said this KUD was the third carnival organised, after Penang, Terengganu.

“The participation or rural entrepreneurs has been very encouraging; more than 1,000 of them were recorded to have participated at the three carnivals,” she said, adding the next KUD will be held in Putrajaya in October, targeting the participation of 5,000 village entrepreneurs. – Bernama