Thursday, July 7

RM1.2 billion for rural devt projects in Sabah

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Mahdzir (left) listening to the need to upgrade other roads in Kg Ratau, Menggatal.

KOTA KINABALU (Oct 17): The federal Rural Development Ministry (KPLB) has allocated RM1.2 billion for rural development projects in Sabah this year.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, said the allocation was provided for the construction of roads, electricity and water supply in rural areas.

He said rural roads, village roads, electricity and water supply were important to Sabah and these projects incurred high costs.

“For 2021, the construction of village roads in Sabah alone costs RM150 million.

“Overall, KPLB has allocated RM1.2 billion to Sabah this year for rural road, electricity and water supply developments,” he said to the media after visiting Kampung Pulau Penampang here on Sunday during his three-day visit to Sabah.

Mahdzir had inspected the road projects at Kg Tombovo, Putatan, Kampung Pulau Penampang and Kampung Ratau, Menggatal, where the existing roads were upgraded to concrete roads. He also attended a briefing by the KPLB Sabah office on the projects this year and plans for the following year.

Besides the projects in Kota Kinabalu, the minister’s itinerary included inspecting the construction of a water treatment plant and Hardcore Poor Housing Programme (PPRT) project in Pitas on Monday (Oct 18) and a bridge upgrading project and rubber factory in Tuaran on Tuesday (Oct 19).

Mahdzir said some KPLB projects were delayed up to five months as contractors were not allowed to enter work sites due to the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) period.

Nevertheless, he said the ministry’s management had discussed with many of its contractors and given them time to complete the projects.

When asked to comment on Sabah’s development lagging behind other states in Malaysia, he said the vast land area in Sabah required long stretches of road, which took time in terms of budget.

He said implementing the development projects all at once in a year would incur a humongous budget.

However, Mahdzir assured that the government has never stopped providing infrastructure for the people, particularly rural roads, electricity and water supply.

“Every year, a certain amount of allocation is provided to Sabah for rural development.

“We also have budget for solar power for villages that do not have direct access to electricity supply.”

In fact, he said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had pledged to give Sabah priority under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

“Sabah is among the states allocated the largest amount of budget,” he added.