Swift solutions needed to uplift eight poorest districts in Sabah
Swift solutions needed to uplift eight poorest districts in Sabah

Swift solutions needed to uplift eight poorest districts in Sabah, says Bung

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has been urged to immediately implement fast solutions to uplift eight Sabah districts said to be among the nation’s poorest areas.

Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said concrete and integrated measures were needed to help these districts shed the “extreme poverty” label.

The Kinabatangan MP was commenting on the districts of Tongod, Beluran, Pitas, Kinabatangan, Kota Marudu, Ranau, Lahad Datu and Tuaran being named in Parliament as among the nation’s poorest.

“There needs to be action, and an integrated solution – otherwise the development slogan Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) (will be seen as) mere rhetoric if it fails to achieve its goal of improving the people’s livelihoods,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday (March 15).

In the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (March 14), Semporna MP and Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had asked the government about initiatives to lift the people out of abject poverty.

In response, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said long-term measures being taken included restructuring the economy and adding infrastructure in Sabah to improve the economic situation of the people in the districts concerned.

“In the short term, we already know that Rahmah Cash Aid, Sumbangan Asas Rahmah and subsidies will continue.

“For the medium term… we create income generation programmes (both) on a large scale and (community-based),” he said.

Rafizi also said his ministry was working with the Sabah government through the People’s Income Initiative focusing on the agricultural sector.

Bung Moktar said focusing on the agricultural sector to help the state’s poor would not have an impact if basic facilities such as roads and utilities were still a problem.

“The government encourages agriculture but poor roads make it difficult for them to bring their produce (to market),” he said.

He said the state government should not rely entirely on allocations from the Federal Government to develop Sabah and lift its people out of extreme poverty.

“The state government says it has large financial reserves – these should be used to help develop the state and improve the socio-economic conditions of the people,” he added.

Bung Moktar said the poverty situation even involved Tuaran, the home town of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

Bung Moktar, who fell out with Hajiji and GRS in January last year, also said the state government had not delivered its development promises under SMJ.

“In the coming 17th state election (due by September next year), the people need to choose wisely to determine their future.

“There is no point (having many) slogans without implementing them for the good of the people,” he said.

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