KUALA LUMPUR: A firm direction for the future of new villages has been unveiled, with the release of a master plan detailing all the strategies needed to upgrade the livelihood of residents in these villages.
And a more than double allocation is being sought to implement these strategies under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said.
He said the master plan incorporating 31 strategies to develop these communities, which was drawn up following a survey of their needs, had been accepted by his ministry.
The strategies include supporting sports, cultural and social activities by providing better infrastructure, encouraging cottage industries and holding training programmes for farmers.
We want to help these villagers so that they will not be left behind, Ong told a press conference after attending a Chinese New Year party at his ministry here yesterday.
A consultant appointed by his ministry and the Economic Planning Unit, said Ong, had carried out a three-year survey, which began in 2002, on all the villages.
However, he said, work to improve and upgrade basic infrastructure like roads, drainage systems, community halls and recreational facilities had been done even before the survey began.
It would take a few Malaysia Plans to carry out the short, medium and long-term programmes under the master plan, he said.
In the last five years, we have been focusing on the physical part of the programme and it needs to be continued in a more systematic and well-planned manner under the Ninth and 10th Malaysia Plans, he said.
Ong said the number of new villages was now 450.
Their total population as of 2002 stood at 1.256 million people while the ethnic breakdown by population was: Chinese (83%), Malays (11.9%), Indians (4.4%) and others (0.7%).
Perak has 134 new villages the highest among all the states in Peninsular Malaysia, said Ong.
He said more than RM8bil was given to the ministry for development under the Eighth Malaysia Plan.
On the ecological damage to the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam Agriculture Park by developers of Section U10 Shah Alam, Ong said the developers would have to pay compensation and ensure the environment is restored to its original condition.