By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 1: A concerted effort by both state and federal governments is crucial to properly assess, identify and develop more robust and inclusive local economic activities to eradicate poverty.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said it was important for the Sarawak government to look deeper at their strategies and planning to boost local economic activities in different areas or districts in order to stimulate and sustain growth.
“The government needs to strategise and plan how to boost local economic activities that can genuinely benefit and impact the local people instead of concentrating them in the hands of a few people,” he told a press conference here today.
See was responding to a Bernama news report on Jan 27, where Rural Development Minister Datuk Rina Harun revealed that her ministry had identified 28 poor districts in the country that must be given special attention for the implementation of socio-economic development programmes.
The programmes include the development of infrastructure, improving their income and education to enable the residents in affected areas to escape poverty.
Among the districts identified are Tumpat in Kelantan and Yan in Kedah besides several others in Sabah and Sarawak. Hence, the ministry would give due emphasis to provide aid and cooperating with relevant agencies and departments to raise the socio-economic standard of the residents.
See opined that the government should look into activities that spur the local economy in the different districts rather than just zoom into the big industries, which are usually concentrated in the bigger or more developed cities and towns.
“Local cottage industry and small localised industry are some of the industries with good potential. Then you can uplift the living standard and income of the people in the rural districts.”
More importantly, he said both state and federal governments had put in a lot of effort to make sure there was road connectivity to all rural areas.
“Works Minister Baru Bian is now looking at the second phase of the Pan Borneo Highway that connects the highland areas.
“I think this will help, as lack of road connectivity is one of the issues that prevented the development of local industries.”
See said Baru was determined to see through the progress of the second phase of the Pan Borneo Highway initiative.
“Hopefully, it can be done by the end of the year. And I think it can help spur the growth of the economy in the highland areas as they needed the proper infrastructure to boost the economic growth of the area.”
Meanwhile, PKR Sarawak will be holding a Chinese New Year Open House at the PKR Stampin Branch Office on Feb 8 from 11am to 1pm.
Besides Baru, Saratok MP Ali Biju and many other PKR leaders are expected to be present.— DayakDaily