KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has reiterated his wish to bring Sabah out of poverty, by urbanising rural areas, a vision he had when he was the Rural and Regional Development minister.
He said Sabah, being among the poorest in the country together with five other states, would need to have its economic and development priorities relooked to achieve this vision.
He said there are existing programmes and projects to help improve the socio-economic development of rural areas but much is needed to actually urbanise rural areas.
One way, Ismail said, was to ensure that basic and sufficient infrastructure is provided for village folks, so that investment, development and other projects can be done.
Telecommunications and digitalisation were also vital factors in bringing the state out of poverty, he said after launching the Sabah Eastern Zone Pan Borneo Highway for the Sandakan – Kinabatangan – Beluran – Telupid alignment, involving a cost of RM877mil on Saturday (Nov 6).
“When I was the Rural Development minister, I had wanted to achieve a reverse migration among village folks, as this would mean that the areas that used to be without development, are already doing better,” he said.
Ismail also said that he had wanted to end hardcore poverty in the country by 2025, back then.
The Prime Minister is now planning to engage the current Rural and Regional Development ministry as well as stakeholders to discuss ways to achieve this ambition.
Ismail said many funding meant for the project were halted following the change of government.
He also approved the special allocation for three projects in Kinabatangan during the event, which were RM6mil for the Kota Kinabatangan multipurpose hall, RM5mil for a market space, as well as RM3mil for a rubbish disposal centre.