Wednesday, August 10

MPP aims to get community more involved in its running

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KUCHING: Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) will strive to increase and sustain community participation to achieve its vision of becoming a role model in community development by 2020.

Its chairman Lo Khere Chiang said the council must engage more volunteers to inspect and keep the municipality area clean while organising more activities for people to mingle and make them feel part of the municipality.

“There is a continuous increase in the number of people in MPP areas and this has led to greater complexity of problems and diverse habits of people which the council has to cope with, with rural urban migration.

“All of these represent great challenges to the council in its tasks to keep the town clean,” he said after the swearing-in of MPP councillors yesterday, which was witnessed by Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Lo urged his councillors not to be afraid of criticisms from the community but embrace challenges in their effort to enforce MPP’s plans and regulations.

He said they should aim at seeing Padawan area attract more tourists and the local populace enjoying a higher standard of living.

“A better way to help the people is to get them to understand and conform to our plans and arrangements through regular talks and forums, dialogue sessions and community events which are for the overall benefit of the community.

“Hopefully, as the level of education, affluence and civic-mindedness rises, social programmes will be more community driven.”

He said MPP would continue to work closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and other government agencies to create more places of attractions in Padawan.

Over the last few years, he said MPP had developed a few prominent tourism products such as the Annah Rais Hot Spring as well as homestay projects at Kampung Annah Rais, Kampung Benuk and Kampung Darul Islam Belimbing.

He added that the homestay package included accommodation, traditional food and outdoor activities such as jungle trekking, caving, kayaking and rubber tapping.

“Community-based eco-tourism will remain the main emphasis in which MPP will continue to work closely with the local communities to develop, promote and maintain the local tourism products in MPP areas.”

Lo recalled that MPP had been given the mandate by former chief minister (now Head of State) Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to lead and work together with Bau, Serian and Lundu district councils to prepare a master plan to develop tourism.

To date, he said a coffee book containing an inventory of tourist attractions in Padawan, Bau, Serian and Lundu (PBSL) had been published.

“The four councils are now working on the PBSL Master Plan and hope to complete it within the next two years.”

On MPP’s five-year strategic plan from 2016 to 2020, he said the council aimed to achieve at least a five per cent increase annually in its revenue through rates collection and other sources.

Among others, he said MPP would continue to embark on quality and cultural transformation and strive for good governance and regulatory compliance in order to be recognised as the best local authority.

“Emphasis is also on human capital enhancement and competency to ensure that the workforce of MPP is capable of translating the strategic objectives of the council into actionable plans and implementing them.”