Open up more land to create jobs for local youths, govt urged


KENINGAU: The government has been to urged open up more land through its agencies to create more jobs to prevent local youths from seeking employment outside of the state.Ideally, according to political activist Victor Leonardus, the government should do this because many Sabah youths have become victims of unscrupulous employment agents.

He regretted that some local youths who went to Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore to look for jobs ended up getting involved in unhealthy social activities after failing to get jobs.

“The government only knows how to give assurance, but takes no positive measures to stop our youths from going out of the state to seek employment,” he told the Borneo Post here yesterday.

Victor said Sabah has big potential in agriculture and tourism sectors apart from its rich natural resources which could be a ready source of income for the state if properly developed.

He said these youths were leaving the state because they were attracted to the good salary in the peninsula and Singapore.

“The best way to counter this is to open up more government land through its agencies so that our youths can work in these areas,” he said, adding that Keningau still has vast tracts of land for agriculture.

But he is so disappointed with plantation owners who seem to be employing foreigners instead of giving priority to the local youths.

He also hit out at local employers for paying their workers around RM400 to RM600 salary per month for the same work people do for RM1,000 in the peninsula and Singapore.

Victor urged the government to monitor agents promising lucrative jobs outside of the state to the local youths.

On another development, Victor described the government’s poverty eradication programme as impractical.

He said the present policy needed to be changed so that long term aid could be provided to the poor people.

“Providing a house under the poor people’s housing scheme (PPRT) and monthly cash allowance, I think, would not do any good to the government in eradicating poverty.

“The government should think about long term aid which should be coordinated properly. For example, the government should help those with land to plant rubber trees which could earn them handsome income when the rubber trees are ready to produce yield,” he said.

He said encouraging land owners to plant oil palm will help them economically in the long run.

“These efforts could be undertaken with help from the relevant government agencies,” he added.