KOTA KINABALU: The Rural Development Ministry should be given a special allocation in the upcoming 2020 State Budget, said its minister Datuk Ewon Benedick.
He said that the allocation was needed to implement various new infrastructure projects for the benefit of the rural communities.
These would include projects such as the Hardcore Poor Housing Programme (PPRT), the Rural Electricity Supply Project (BELB) alternative programme and the Rural Water Supply (BALB) alternative programme, Ewon added.
“I have visited many villages in the rural areas and after I had observed the various programmes in my ministry’s budget, I have found that there is a need for my ministry to have its own budget under the State Government.
“Therefore, I have presented my inputs to the State Economic Planninh Unit (Upen) so that my ministry’s request may be listed in the 2020 State Budget,” Ewon told reporters when met at an appreciation ceremony cum Hari Raya dinner for the Kota Belud District Office, at Promenade Hotel here on Thursday.
Ewon, who is Kadamaian assemblyman, pointed out that many villages in the state that are still in dire need of water and power supply and thus, are in need of help from the State Government.
Ewon revealed that he had already discussed the issue of PPRT with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal and he was confident that the latter would respond positively to his ministry’s requests.
Ewon expressed his hope that, if granted, the special allocation would serve as the key to help the rural folks who are listed in the e-kasih programme.
“Currently the allocation for the construction and repair of PPRT houses comes from the Federal Government. For this year, the Federal Rural Development Ministry has only allocated a total of 445 new PPRT units and 1, 740 refurbished PPRT units.
“This is not enough as there are still many complaints, which had since went viral on social media and newspapers,” added Ewon.
Also present at the event were Tempasuk assemblyman Datuk Musbah Jamli, Usukan assemblyman Datuk Japlin Akim, the ministry permanent secretary Fredian Gan, Kota Belud district officer Diyanah Abdullah, former Kota Belud district officer Abdul Gari Itam and former assistant district officer Junsim Rumunzing.