Rural development must have physical-social balance, says Ahmad Zahid


KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts to develop the rural areas should be implemented holistically by focusing on a balance between physical development and social values of eastern society, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said such efforts were vital as the neglect of these elements could cause the country to be destroyed.

“What is the use of having great infrastructure if the family institution is neglected. There is no more social values when a mother can take care of nine children but nine children cannot necessarily care for a mother.

“When materialistic values become a priority, there is no longer any traditional values to be safeguarded,” he said when opening the Rural Development Convention 2017 here yesterday.

He said the country should take lessons from other countries that faced imbalance in its development that led to a decline in good values.

Ahmad Zahid said, in facing the National Transformation 2050, the government should also seek an approach to ensure a balance between urban and rural residents so that they were not trapped in a mentality that is backward.

He said the relevant parties should be able to translate the commitment of the government in developing the rural population to be on par with those in the urban areas.

“This is crucial given that 60 per cent of of the people currently living in urban areas are rural voters,” he said, adding that 75 per cent of the country’s population was concentrated in towns and the rest in rural areas at present.

He said by 2050, 85 per cent of the population in the country was expected to be concentrated in urban areas and the remaining 15 per cent would be in the rural areas.

The deputy prime minister said the concern of the government for rural voters should be able to translate into votes for the government.

“We must hold the core of the government and, at the same time, we have to take care of those who need to be cared for,” he said.

He also reminded the people not to allow the opposition to claim that every successes made by the government were due to the efforts of the opposition.

Citing the progress attained by a state currently being ruled by the opposition, he said the achievements were the result of the hard work of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

However, he said the opposition held state government was not grateful to the BN but was willing to admit that the foreign investment brought into the state administered by them was the result of their efforts. — Bernama