Ministry moves to curb rural-urban migration


KUALA LUMPUR: The Rural and Regional Development Ministry has doubled its efforts to stimulate the economy in rural areas as a means to stop youths from migrating to cities.Its minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the ministry was generating more job and business opportunities for the youths to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign workers.

“Due to an increase in the migration of youths to cities, rural areas have become less productive, since only the elders are left behind. For example, a large number of farmers and rubber tappers are made up of those who are 60 and above while oil palm plantations in Sabah are dominated by foreign workers.

“To overcome the problem, we must introduce projects that involve the youths, empowering the people on the ground, like building houses with the help of youths from Pusat GiatMara,” he told reporters after opening a seminar on District Development 2010 in Seri Kembangan here yesterday.

Shafie said if the productivity and economy in rural areas improved and succeeded, it would attract participation from youths and prevent them from migrating to cities.

He added that apart from developing rural areas, his ministry would also focus on Minister Key Result Areas (MKRA) to concentrate on small holders, entrepreneurs and development of the Orang Asli community.

“I will make sure that agencies under the ministry and those involved in such projects, carried out their responsibilities and complete such projects on time,” he said.

He added that the MKRA was as important as the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) and about 360,000 houses in rural areas throughout the country would be provided with clean and treated water by 2012.

“Projects under NKRA involves providing clean water, electricity, building roads, houses for the poor and eradicating hardcore poor,” he said.

Mohd Shafie said strategic partnership between the federal and state government plus districts was vital to ensure the success of NKRA in a

short period because it involves an allocated budget of RM17.4 billion. — Bernama