KOTA KINABALU: Bright times are ahead for a sleepy hollow called Paitan once a new township is fully implemented in the near future.
The small town in Beluran is located about 234km from the state capital. The residents in this small town live a charmingly simple and rustic lifestyle.
Lying in the middle of nowhere between Beluran and the neighbouring Pitas district right in the middle of Sabah, Paitan is a sub-district under the Beluran district.
Existing government buildings include a sub-district office administered by an Assistant District Officer.
For a start, a row of single-storey shophouses have been built by the State Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) through its subsidiary Sedcovest, whereas other relevant government department and agencies are also expected to follow suit when necessary.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said after launching the monthly Paitan Tamu here on Wednesday that the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (LPPB) has allocated RM1.5 million for site preparation works.
“Out of this, RM750,000 has been spent this year on basic infrastructure while the balance will be spent next year,” he said.
Hajiji pointed out that the new Paitan township is one of the several plans being implemented by LPPB in line with its objective of prompting the birth of new growth centres at economically feasible rural areas.
Earlier this year, he had also visited the sites for Banggi island in northern Kudat, Merotai in Tawau and Sindumin (Sabah-Sarawak border town) new townships.
“Paitan is indeed ideal for a new growth centre as it is surrounded by oil palm estates and local farms, in addition to its strategic position along the Pitas-Kanibongan-Beluran road,” Hajiji said.
Meanwhile, he said the Paitan monthly tamu, which will be held on the 10th and 11th of each month that was initiated by Sugut Assemblyman Datuk James Ratib, would enable local farmers to sell their produce even if it was just once a month.
“I hope that the tamu will eventually be held weekly,” he said.
Hajiji urged the Paitan people to not belittle or underestimate the significance of the tamu, pointing out that in the old days during British colonial times, the sitting of the Native Court coincided with the tamu.
Later, James, who is also Sedcovest chairman, appealed to the government to “take a look” at Paitan with a view to see what could be done for the sleepy little hollow lying literally in the middle of Sabah between the West and East coasts.
“Geographically, the Paitan sub-district is as big as, if not bigger than a small state in the Peninsular, while the Beluran district is as big as, if not bigger than a large state.
“But look at us. We are the poorest district in Sabah. We have plenty of oil palm plantations but these are not owned by local farmers.
“Our percentage of electricity and clean water supply to households is the single digit,” James said.