CM: State govt committed to lifting rural folk out of poverty through Village Extension Scheme
Posted on : 05 Apr 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari.

KUCHING (Apr 5): The Sarawak government is committed to transforming the lifestyle of rural folk and lifting them out of poverty through its Village Extension Scheme, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

He said through the Village Extension Scheme, the property value of rural folk in Sarawak would go up and an individual who possessed assets with high value should not be defined as poor.

“We will continue to expand our villages including longhouses. This means that the asset value of our rural folk will go up. Even though the new poverty line is RM2,000 plus, how do you define poverty?

“Defining poverty can be done either through monthly cash income or based on your asset. If you have asset with high value, you can’t be poor. Like in villages, if you have land, you can’t be poor,” he said in his speech at the state Land and Survey Department Summit at Menara Pelita here.

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According to Abang Johari, a company’s value is assessed based on both asset and cash.

He said if poverty was defined based on cash alone, quite a number of Sarawakians would be in poverty trap.

“If we can increase the asset value of our villagers, they won’t be defined as poor. There is a need for us to define poverty, which should not be based on cash income,” he added.

Through the Village Extension Scheme, he said basic infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity supply would be provided for rural folk.

He said the state government would be bearing the costs of proving the mentioned infrastructure to the rural community.

He said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was on a two-day visit to the state recently, told him that he was impressed with the briefing by the State Secretary on the state government’s direction of development for Sarawak.

“He said we have shared responsibility and objective. The prime minister said the hydrogen project is something new, something that he just heard. If he said that, it means that ‘kita boleh tahan lah‘ (we are not bad).”

Abang Johari was pleased that the department had conducted perimeter survey on a total of 40,111 hectares of native customary right (NCR) land as well as 12,322 hectares of individual lots last year.

He also lauded the department for its eLASIS system, which should serve as a model for the whole nation. Through eLASIS, people can obtain the latest information on land-related matters.

“I am sure you are going to improve your eLASIS. This Covid-19 pandemic has taught us the benefits of embracing technology and fortunately we implemented our digital economy in 2017,” he said.

He believed that the department would come up with the next generation of eLASIS so as to enhance service delivery for all.

Citing Zoom, an app which has been widely used following the pandemic, as example, Abang Johari said: “Zoom is originally Skype improved by an entrepreneur in Hong Kong. Zoom is a new version of Skype, which was created by somebody in Estonia.”

He added: “The Land and Survey Department can also have an improved version of eLASIS.”

Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh and state Land and Survey Department director Abdullah Julaihi.