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Ewon: Poverty programmes to be strengthened

11th July, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Poverty alleviation programmes such as the Mini Estate Sejahtera (Mesej) will be strengthened and to incorporate elements of rural tourism and value-adding.

Minister of Rural Development, Ewon Benedick, said although poverty index in the state showed signs of improvement, his ministry is looking to strengthening existing programmes to bring about an improvement of living standard in the rural areas.

He told reporters at the ministry’s Hari Raya open house here yesterday that he would be going down to the ground this week to see for himself the Mesej projects focusing on poverty alleviation through the cultivation of oil palm rubber and aquaculture.

“I will be visiting Kota Marudu and Pitas to see whether the programmes have actually improved the livelihood of the people. We hope to eventually visit all the programmes to determine if they have attained the objectives they were set up for,” he told the press.

Present at the open house included Minister of Education and Inovation Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, Minister of Infrastructure Development Datuk Peter Anthony, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Abu Bakar Hj Abdul Latif, assistant ministers and district officers from throughout the state.

Ewon, who is the State Assemblyman of Kadamaian, has been in the forefront of promoting rural tourism starting with what he called ‘edu-tourism’ in his constituency. He has also been advocating the construction of rubberised roads to create demand for rubber. Working with rubber industry authorities, a rubberised road will be built in Kadamaian next year.

On the proposed re-branding of Village Development and Security Committees (JKKKs) and Jawatankuasa Kemasyarakatan Dalam Bandar (or JKDB), the minister spoke of a name change but not necessarily to follow the ‘Majlis Pengurusan Komuniti’ (or Community Management Council) adopted by Peninsular Malaysia.

“We want a unique Sabah identity to show that we have our ways of administering community affairs.” Ewon also spoke of new ways of electing JKKK and JKDB officers who previously were politically appointed.

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