KOTA MARUDU, Oct 23 — The federal government has allocated RM83.2 million for Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT) in Sabah this year, said Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.
He said the allocation involved 520 new PPRT houses and 2,818 repairing projects.
“The Rural Development Ministry is focusing on giving proper housing to the poor who are unable to build their own place.
“However, we are also looking at those who need assistance in repairing works.
“In Sabah, we already completed several projects, and as for me PPRT is one of my priorities in my Key Performance Index (KPI) as a minister in charge,” he said to reporters after handing over keys to PPRT recipients at Kampung Tanjung Batu here.
One of the house owners, Masri Bakri, 45, said having his own house after seven applications is like a dream come true.
The fisherman and his wife Masritah Mohd Yassin, who have been living with his in-law with their four children since 2003, appreciated the government aid, especially with three comfortable rooms and a bathroom.
Another recipient, Ramlon Maisin, 51, also considered the house as comfortable and safe.
“I can’t express how thankful I am with this house.
“It was a special home for me and my wife and our five children,” he added.
Mahdzir who also visited Kampung Pulau Penampang in Kota Kinabalu on October 17 during his three-day visit to Sabah, said his ministry (KPLB) has allocated RM1.2 billion for rural development projects in Sabah this year.
He said the allocation was provided for the construction of roads, electricity and water supply in rural areas.
He said rural roads, village roads, electricity and water supply were important to Sabah and these projects incurred high costs.
“For 2021, the construction of village roads in Sabah alone costs RM150 million.
“Overall, KPLB has allocated RM1.2 billion to Sabah this year for rural road, electricity and water supply developments,” he said.
Mahdzir had inspected the road projects at Kg Tombovo, Putatan, Kampung Pulau Penampang and Kampung Ratau, Menggatal, where the existing roads were upgraded to concrete roads.
He also attended a briefing by the KPLB Sabah office on the projects this year and plans for the following year.
Mahdzir said some KPLB projects were delayed up to five months as contractors were not allowed to enter work sites due to the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) period.
Nevertheless, he said the ministry’s management had discussed with many of its contractors and given them time to complete the projects.
When asked to comment on Sabah’s development lagging behind other states in Malaysia, he said the vast land area in Sabah required long stretches of road, which took time in terms of budget.
He said implementing the development projects all at once in a year would incur a humongous budget.
However, Mahdzir assured that the government has never stopped providing infrastructure for the people, particularly rural roads, electricity and water supply.
“Every year, a certain amount of allocation is provided to Sabah for rural development.
“We also have budget for solar power for villages that do not have direct access to electricity supply.”
In fact, he said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had pledged to give Sabah priority under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
“Sabah is among the states allocated the largest amount of budget,” he added. — Borneo Post Online