Putrajaya and Sabah bid to lift Tongod, Pitas, Kota Marudu out of poverty
KOTA KINABALU, March 8 — The federal and Sabah government will embark on a mission to lift the three of the most impoverished districts in the state and country out of poverty.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had proposed that focused assistance be given to Pitas, Tongod, and Kota Marudu through infrastructure projects and other upgrades.
“This is the game changer that the state government and the Rural and Regional Development Ministry has discussed to realise Sabah government’s aspirations to move those three districts out from poverty or being the poorest in the state,” he said.
Zahid said that they would liaise with the ministries of economy and finance for the initiative.
However, he did not provide details about the projects and programmes that would be implemented.
“We shall wait for proposals and suggestions from the state government, particularly the technical committee which is led by the state secretary and will be overseen by the secretary-general of the ministry,” he said.
He said this after a meeting with Hajiji where he said that they had also discussed establishing paddy estates under FELCRA and how to coordinate projects under RM50 million that will be under the state’s purview.
For the projects, coordination will be carried out by a technical committee between state and the ministry’s secretaries.
“We will form the committee as soon as possible so that projects can be carried out and felt by the people,” he said.
Zahid also added that the establishment of paddy estates would ensure food security not only for local consumption, but also for future stockpiles.
“Felcra Bhd has the modality to implement the rice-farming estate as what has been done in Seberang Perak whereby the villagers are the shareholders and will receive dividends when there are breakeven points later.
“They can also become the manpower. Housing areas will also be provided to them to ensure the area has new economic growth,” he said.
He also did not give a timeline into the projects, only that the state would make the necessary announcements when the time came.