PUTRAJAYA: The Rural and Regional Development Ministry has asked rural folks to give it three years to implement its programmes to eradicate hardcore poverty and modernise villages.
Its new minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin said all its departments and agencies had been directed to come up with lists of plans and activities they wanted to undertake.
“I have told them to get these plans ready in three months. These programmes will then be put into place in stages and hopefully, we will see some results by the end of three years.
“Although this ministry has very heavy tasks as it covers large rural areas in both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, I am confident this can be done if we put our minds to changing the attitudes of rural folks.
“We want to reactivate and make the ministry more dynamic,” he told reporters after convening his first post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.
The three-year deadline, said Abdul Aziz, was the ministry’s minimum target to achieve goals under its programmes.
“We have to plan the programmes we want to run. It will not be fair for rural folks to expect results immediately. The ministry doesn’t have a magic wand,” he said.
Currently, the ministry has three main departments, Kemas (Community Development Division), Infra (Institute for Rural Advancement) and JHEOA (Orang Asli Affairs Department).
It also has several government agencies under its wing including Felcra, Kejora (South-East Johor Development Authority), Risda (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority), Dara (South-East Pahang Development Authority), Keda (Kedah Development Authority) and Kesedar (South Kelantan Development Authority).
Abdul Aziz said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had asked him to focus on emphasising the teachings of Islam hadhari (Islamic civilisation) and fulfilling the promises made to the people in the general election.
“There won’t be a change of policy in the ministry but we want our staff to be more responsible and disciplined and that every sen which we spend must be accountable,” he said.