KUCHING: The Rural and Regional Development Ministry has allocated RM121mil for village development and security committees (JKKK) in Sarawak this year.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, said JKKK chairmen received a monthly allowance of RM800 and secretaries RM200.
“The committee members also receive an allowance of RM50 each time they attend a meeting. This involves an overall allocation of RM121mil,” he told reporters after the opening of a grassroots leadership seminar at the State Legislative Assembly building here yesterday.
Mohd Shafie said his ministry also provided allocations for rural development in the state, including road construction and supply of utilities.
He said rural water supply projects would be implemented through various means, such as reticulated supply, Lifesaver system and tube wells.
“Similarly, for rural electricity, besides connection to the main grid we also use mini hydro or solar systems, depending on the location,” he said.
In addition, he said RM50mil had been allocated under the housing assistance programme for Sarawak this year, which will involve 2,947 houses.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who opened the seminar, said the state government was now focusing on developing the rural areas, which were lagging behind urban areas.
He said rural folk still lacked economic opportunities as well as basic infrastructure like roads, water and electricity.
For example, he said, driving from Sematan to Lawas was a backbreaking journey compared with the smooth highways in Peninsular Malaysia.
“This is why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is coming to Sarawak at the end of the month to launch the Pan-Borneo Highway project.
“When we build roads, we are not only connecting A to B, we are also bringing development to the areas in between A and B. The construction of roads will be a source of development in rural areas,” he said.
Adenan also reminded community leaders to communicate government policies and projects to the people.
He said he had introduced a number of new policies since becoming chief minister last year, including maintaining the tenure of land leases after conversion or subdivision and lowering electricity tariffs.
In addition, he said, he was negotiating with Petronas on increasing the state’s oil royalty and with toll concessionaires to reduce or abolish their toll rates.
“I hope you will tell the people in your villages about these policies, otherwise they will not know what the government is doing,” he said.