TONGOD: The State Government is studying the possibilities of creating new district councils for both the Tongod and Telupid districts, said Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Hj Hajiji Hj Noor.
Tongod which became a full district a few years ago, is under the Kinabatangan District Council, local government-wise. It was a sub-district before that.
While Telupid, which was upgraded from a sub-district to full district this year, is administratively, local government-speaking, under the Beluran District Council.
Before they became full districts, Tongod was a sub-district of Kinabatangan while Telupid was a sub-district of Beluran.
“However, the study may take a bit of time as certain criteria has to be fulfilled before a district council can be created – things like population, economic activities, revenue, etc.
“Even after the State Government gives the OK, we still need the concurrence of the Federal Government as it involves allocations and so on,” he said, adding that at present local authorities in Sabah receive allocations from both the State and Federal Governments.
New district councils created in Sabah over recent years were in the Pitas and Putatan districts upon their becoming full districts but not immediately.
Hajiji said this at the launch of the Tongod District Hawkers and Petty Traders Association cum Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration here yesterday.
Meanwhile, the minister who is the chairman of the State Hawkers and Petty Traders Consultative Council, advised hawkers and petty traders in Sabah to get themselves registered as members of their respective district associations so as not to miss out on the various benefits offered by the government channeled through the associations.
Among the benefits are insurance coverage and other assistance like loans such as the recent special loans given out during the fasting month. Among the criteria to become members are they must be citizens and have trading licences.
“Ever since the formation of the Consultative Council, we have registered more than 10,000 members statewide. We hope to have 30,000 members in five years’ time,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Sabah Association for Hawkers and Petty Traders, Hj Noortaip Hj Suhaili thanked Hajiji for appointing 14 members of the association to sit in local authorities such as district councils.
“This goes to show that under Datuk Seri Hj Hajiji Hj Noor, even hawkers and petty traders are cared for and have a say in local councils,” he said, adding that he hoped more would be appointed in future.
One of those appointed as Tongod District Councillor was Puan Norfaizah Chua who is chairperson of the Tongod District Hawkers and Petty Traders Association.
Meanwhile, Norfaizah in her speech urged the government to give priority to local hawkers and petty traders from Tongod in allocating trading spaces there as at present some are outsiders, adding that more assistance should also be given.
She also urged the relevant government agency to do something about the high cost of living in Tongod, citing RM35 for a tank of gas and costlier rice and fuel.
Present were Kuamut assemblyman Datuk Masiung Banah, Ministry of Local Government and Housing permanent secretary Datuk Matius Sator and Tongod distrcit officer Robert Steady.
Also present were Hajiji’s political secretary Kassim Razali, MCA Tuaran chief Chua Sheng Kian and Sulaman PPM Johari Saiman.