22/04/2024 05:27 PM

KOTA KINABALU, April 22 (Bernama) -- The disclosure of hardcore poverty in eight districts in Sabah, six times higher than the national rate, is a brave and responsible act by the Unity Government, the Sabah State Legislative Assembly was told today.

Explaining the matter, Datuk Masiung Banah (GRS-Kuamut) said that the disclosure should not be viewed as something negative, but instead shows that the Unity Government, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is committed to eradicating hardcore poverty in the state.

He said that he is not disheartened or angry when Tongod, which is in his state constituency, was named as the highest poverty-stricken district; he is happy when the federal and state governments are currently trying hard to help people who are shackled in hardcore poverty.

“This is an endorsement of what I have said since I was in this state constituency, from 2008 until now; we have asked the federal and state governments to pay attention because Tongod is isolated and backward in Malaysia, it needs to be given attention.

“I am happy that the government has the courage to announce and try to resolve this problem;  I salute the Prime Minister (Anwar) for having the courage to state what is real, and the courage to work together with Sabah to find a solution,” he said.

He said this when debating the motion of thanks to the Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, for his government policy speech at the state assembly sitting.

On March 14, Economy Minister, Rafizi Ramli, disclosed that Tongod recorded the highest hardcore poverty rate of 5.9 per cent, ahead of Beluran (five per cent), Pitas (4.8 per cent), Kinabatangan (4.6 per cent), Kota Marudu (four per cent), Tuaran (2.6 per cent), Ranau and Lahad Datu (2.4 per cent each).

Masiung said that when there is a change of government, what always happens is that the newly appointed leaders will rush to build landmarks and skyscrapers to show off their power, without realising the people who are under them.

“The current Unity Government does not want to build big buildings, towers or, skyscrapers, but what is the priority is eliminating hardcore poverty. This is right to help the people; don't only look up at the skyscrapers and ignore the people on the ground,” he said.

Commenting on the efforts to eradicate hardcore poverty in Tongod, he said that the first and main step which needs to be taken is to provide complete basic infrastructure, especially roads, water and electricity, for the residents, which will be a catalyst for the economic development of the area.

Citing an example, he said that many residents in the area are oil palm growers and farmers, so with good roads, the produce can be brought out quickly and easily, thus providing more and quick income for them.

“However, all these efforts require political stability, and the state government, under the Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor), is trying to help the people. Forget our political disputes, so that we can all sit together to develop Sabah further, otherwise, we will never be able to eliminate hardcore poverty,” he said.




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