LAHAD DATU: Sabah, which for the most parts was governed by the Barisan Nasional (BN), experienced major changes in its development and economic landscape since it attained independence through Malaysia in 1963, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said.
He said compared to before, Sabah now was no longer the poorest state in the country and in fact had huge potential to surge forward.
"Then (in 1963) probably more that 70% of the people could be said to be poor, hardcore poor and destitute. However, Sabah now is no longer the poorest state in the country.
"According to statistics, the average per capita income of Sabah now lies in the middle when compared to the richest and poorest states," he said when launching the Mini Estate Sejahtera (MESEJ) project at Kampung Nala, Tungku, about 60km from here, today.
Najib said this was the outcome of the national development agenda which was clear and effective and now included the National Transformation Programme that would bring about a brighter change for the future of the people.
"We launched the National Transformation Programme because we wanted to change everything, like this Kampung Nala (which previously was only a mangrove swamp).
"We will not stop here… we will continue until we completely eradicate hardcore poverty. Before, there were about 30,000 people in Sabah who were poor but now there are only about 7,000 (still poor)," he said.
Najib said although there were some people who were still poor, the success of the BN government in tackling poverty could not be understated.
"Just look at this Kampung Nala, the value of each house provided is more than RM42,000 and this does not include the land value, electricity and water supply, which will raise the value to more than RM60,000. And all these we are giving for the free to the participants of the (MESEJ) project.
"They (participants) did not pay a single sen…which government in the world has a programme like this?" he said.
The prime minister said the project was made possible because of the close relationship between the federal and state governments.
"In this context, Felda (the Federal Land Development Authority) made a contribution of RM22 milion to translate the MESEJ project in Nala a reality and each year Felda allocates RM50 million to the Sabah government to help uplift the welfare of the people of Sabah," he said.
Besides this, Najib said the Rural and Regional Development Ministry was also implementing various development programmes throughout Sabah.
"For this year alone, a total of 15,455 houses (under the housing aid programme) and 458km of road will be built throughout Sabah while more than 68,000 homes will get piped water (under the rural water supply programme).
"Additionally, various state government projects including 50 MESEJ projects to be implemented throughout Sabah will certainly help raise the people's living standard," he said.
As such, Najib invited the people of Sabah, especially in the Tungku area, to be solidly behind the Barisan Nasional at the next general election for continuity of development for their own benefit.
-BernamaRead More @ Source
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