Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Northern Sabah worst poverty area, says Pairin
Sabah registers highest poverty rate in country


Northern Sabah which encompasses Kota Belud, Pitas, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Beluran and Tongod, has the highest rate of poverty and hardcore poor in the State, according to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
He said data collected by the Government also revealed that farmers and traditional fishermen make up a large majority of those identified under the Poor or Hardcore Poor categories.
Pairin, who is also Rural Development Minister, noted that despite numerous efforts to help develop the agriculture and fisheries sectors, there are still those who have yet to receive the full benefits of such assistance.
"Because of this situation, the Federal and State Governments have planned and implemented various programs under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and the State's Halatuju in eradicating poverty," he said.
Pairin said this at a press conference after a round-table dialogue organized by the United National Development Program (UNDP) and Universiti Malaya's Development and Poverty Research Centre at Le Meridien Hotel here, yesterday.
Also present at the dialogue were Prof Jeffrey Sachs, the special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Associate professor Dr Sulochana Nair, the UM Development and Poverty Research Centre Director, and Dr Richard Leete, the UNDP Permanent Representative to Malaysia.
Pairin said Sabah registered the highest poverty rate in the country with 21,568 people identified under the poverty line as at March 31 last year.
He however stressed that the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development and his Ministry had jointly implemented poverty eradication programs from the bottom-up, starting with home-based projects towards the aim of developing commercial fishermen and farmers.
"My Ministry has also intensified implementation of its Misi Estet Sejahtera program Statewide, which will open agricultural plantations such as oil palm cultivation to hardcore poor residents.
"Currently we have 30 such programs planned out for development Statewide under the 9MP," he said.
The Government's poverty eradication plaza includes the Agropolitant project in Pulau Banggi, Kudat, which will involve 4,500 hectares fora rubber plantation and constructing homes for the island's residents.