KUCHING: The Rural Executive Councillors and Ministers Coordination Meeting (MEXCLUB) here on Monday saw the presentation of six papers comprising two proposal papers and four notification papers.
The meeting – the second to be held this year – was chaired by Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and attended by nine Rural Exco members from Sarawak, Sabah, Melaka, Penang, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah, Perlis and Perak.
The members are Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development; Sabah State Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Radin Malleh; Penang State Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman – who is also special advisor to the Prime Minister; Melaka State Agriculture and Entrepreneur Development committee member Datuk Hasan Abdul Rahman; Kedah State Information, Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Tajudin Abdullah; Perak State Rural Development, Agriculture, Plantation, Information and Human Capital Development Committee chairman Datuk Saarani Mohamad; Pahang State Rural Development, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif; Terengganu State Rural Development, Entrepreneur, Cooperative and Consumerism Committee chairman Encik Nawi Mohamad; and Perlis State Public Facilities, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Encik Nurulhisham Yaakob.
Also present during the meeting were Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and Sarawak Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.
Ismail Sabri told a press conference following the meeting that out of the four notification papers, two were from Sarawak.
“These papers were regarding proposal and monitoring projects under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development including late application projects involving the connection of electricity supply in rural areas,” he said.
He noted that the meeting also discussed on projects under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development for 2017 as well as touch-point project proposals for 2018.
Ismail Sabri also touched on the first paper, which was presented concerning the proposed land acquisition of existing Community Development Department (Kemas) preschools or Tabika Kemas land sites by the Federal Lands Commissioner.
“In today’s (Monday) meeting, we basically agreed that Tabika Kemas lands owned by the state government be transferred to the Federal Lands and Mines director with the premium rates payment going to the respective state governments,” he said.
Apart from that, another paper presented was on the perimeter survey of 330,000 ha of Orang Asli land reserves, which has since been completed by the ministry and will be handed over to the respective state governments to be gazetted.
“We have proposed that each state government, which has Orang Asli land reserves, to establish a special taskforce to immediately settle the gazette of Orang Asli owned lands,” he said.
Ismail Sabri pointed out that the meeting also came to an agreement that all repair works under the Hardcore Poor Housing Programme (PPRT) be handed over to Village Security And Development Committees (JKKKs), including those in Sarawak.
“It is up to the JKKKs to hold a gotong-royong to repair the houses and if they cannot afford to organise a gotongroyong, then we will let them choose a contractor to do so,” he explained.
Other issues that were presented included the Insurance Protection Scheme, Identification Card for JKKK/Federal Village Security and Development Committee (JKKKP)/Orang Asli Village Security and Development Committee (JKKKOA), and iDesa.
He explained that the Insurance Protection Scheme is a group insurance expected to starting in January.
“Under this scheme, the fee is charged RM17, of which RM10 will be borne by the government, while the remaining RM7 is paid for by the JKKK members themselves,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said a consensus was also reached to establish a joint-committee to plan and monitor every project under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development that is either being carried out or will be implemented.
“The committee will be divided into an Executive Committee, which will be co-chaired by myself and Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who will be representing Sarawak, as well as a Working Committee, which will be chaired by my ministry’s secretary general Datuk Borhan Dolah and Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development permanent secretary Encik Buckland Bangik.
“The Working Committee will have meetings from time to time to monitor every project to avoid circumstances such as ‘sick projects’ because we will be able to detect the problems early,” he said.
On the other hand, he said the Executive Committee will discuss proposals of projects under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development and implementing them in Sarawak.
“We expect to hold the first meeting after the tabling of the Budget 2018 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Once we know how much allocation has been set aside for Sarawak, then we can look into the project proposals which will be implemented by the state government.”
Ismail Sabri also pointed out that Sarawak received the largest allocation for the implementation of Rural Electrification Scheme (RES) projects under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development.
“The government has allocated a total RM3.374 billion or 48 per cent out of the overall budget allocated for RES in the country from 2010 to 2017,” he said.
For the rural road projects, he said around RM177.9 million or 20.04 per cent has been channelled to the state under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016 to 2020), whereas a total of RM1.499 billion or 25.5 per cent was allocated to implement the connection of rural water supply under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011 to 2015) and 11th Malaysia Plan.
He added that Sarawak also received an allocation of RM94.4 million to carry out projects under PPRT this year.