KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government is working towards helping Sabah's rural folks get 95% infrastructure access, including roads and Internet connectivity, by 2025.
Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun (pic) said various programmes were in the midst of being implemented in Sabah to improve socio-economic standards in the rural areas.
"Realising the fact that there is so much potential in rural areas for growth, we are trying our best to make sure that those far from the city have basic necessities, like roads and communication," she said after launching at the state level Rural Entrepreneurs Carnival at the Sports Complex in Likas near here on Saturday (Aug 24).
Rina said there was a lot of hidden potential for local products to be marketed, and there were numerous programmes to help aspiring entrepreneurs offer their goods and services outside of their villages.
She said they were also thinking of bringing investors into selected rural areas.
"The state also has rural community centres to help village folks increase their income and knowledge on how to improve their livelihood," she said.
Rina said from the RM1.14bil Federal allocations for rural development, some RM200mil had been spent for this purpose.
Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the state government was working closely with various departments and agencies to facilitate the construction of roads and telecommunication towers.
"Many of these rural folks live in forest reserves or areas close to gazetted lands, therefore there are guidelines and regulations to follow," he said.
On other matters, he urged hypermarkets and supermarkets to give opportunity to local entrepreneurs to sell their goods.
"There are already some of these establishments selling local products and produce, but we hope to see more hypermarkets and supermarkets designating space for local produce to be sold," he said.
He added that these were among the government's initiatives to help bridge the economic gap between rural and urban folks.