All areas within 30km radius of towns to get basic facilities
Areas within 30km radius from a town and township throughout Sabah will be fully provided with basic amenities within eight years, or before year 2016. Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said the development in the State will be distributed fairly and equitably so that all the rural areas will enjoy the same amenities as those in other States in the country. Muhammad was speaking after a briefing by Sabah Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen on current issues and the State’s programs at Magellan Sutera Harbour here yesterday. According to Muhammad, the 30km radius development projects will include the provision of water and electricity supplies, roads and other amenities as well as Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT). “The Ministry will monitor the distribution of amenities so that we would know which rural areas have more and which lack the amenities, and we will develop the less developed areas,” he said. However, the provision of amenities for remote areas which are 160km from a town, for instance, will be limited, and special programs such as a solar hybrid will be implemented to provide electricity, Muhammad added. In May and June, the Prime Minister announced a RM1 billion allocation each for Sabah and Sarawak to implement basic amenities, as rural areas in both states are far behind the more developed Peninsular Malaysia. “However, we are more interested in building roads in the villages and rural areas within the 30km radius, which will be connected to the federal roads,” he said, adding that 95 percent of the Peninsular has road infrastructure compared to 40 and 34 percent in Sabah and Sarawak respectively. As for water supply, Sabah and Sarawak have 63 and 62 percent coverages respectively compared to 97 percent in the Peninsular, while electricity supply implementation rate in Sabah is 76 percent and Sarawak is 84 percent compared to 99 percent in the Peninsular. Meanwhile, Muhammad urged the State’s people representatives to provide help regarding land matters as certain projects which have been allocated funds could not be implemented yet due to the lack of land or site. “The Assemblymen have to help so that the projects can be carried out,” Muhammad said, adding that the State Government will also provide help to overcome the problem. He said the allowance for heads of villages will be sent directly to the State Government for distribution along with the additional allowance from the State Government Also present during the briefing were Minister of Rural Development Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.