Monday, June 16, 2008


Banggi hardcore poor to move into resettlement houses


Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad bin Muhammad Taib said 1,000 heads of hardcore poor household will move into the agropolitan project settlement houses in Banggi Island this October. “They will live in the houses which are almost completed through the first phase of the project,” he said. He said by moving into the settlement, it would change their way of living and they could enjoy many basic facilities there. Muhammad said this at a press conference after attending a programme with the people at Kampung Meliyu during a visit to Banggi Island with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman yesterday. Also present were Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Deputy Foreign Minister-cum Kudat Member of Parliament Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri and Banggi Assemblyman Abdul Mijul bin Unaini. Muhammad added the participants of the agropolitan project would be able to increase their income from RM300 to RM1,200 per month. “The RM167 million project at the 4,000-hectare area that will be used for rubber plantation will be able to help the houshold heads lift themselves out from hardcore poverty,” he said. Touching on electricity supply, Muhammad said his Ministry would find an alternative way to supply electricity to the islanders apart from building hybrid solar system which is now under implementation. “Currently, several researchers from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) are doing research on using windmill to generate electricity for the residents here,” he said, adding getting power supply from the windmill was ideal due to the strong wind in the island. Muhammad also said the Banggi residents would be able to enjoy clean water after a clean water project worth RM30 million was completed while the road project was expected to be completed next year. The agropolitan project was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on August 11 last year. It will be fully funded by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, which will cost RM167.36 million. FELCRA was appointed as the implementing agency to ensure the success of the project. The State Government will provide 4,500 acres of land for the projects to ensure its success. The high impact rural development project and agropolitan project in Banggi island will involve several components. Among them is the development of rubber tree plantation costing RM65.9 million and covering 4,500 of land. The other component of the project is the provision of land for 200 settlers under the Local Community Development Programme which cost RM10.6 million. With the implementation of this project, it is hoped that Banggi Island will change from a backward village to an economically self-sustaining area. It is estimated that 1,000 hardcore poor will benefit from the project in the form of share in the plantation. The State Government is confident that the project will solve the economic imbalance between the rural and urban areas.