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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)

State to focus on narrowing rural-urban development gap

THE State Government is determined to ensure that the development gap between rural and urban areas is closed. Yes, not narrowed but closed.

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud pointed out that this is the purpose of developing the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

“As we all know, bigger economic potential now will come from the rural areas. Bigger opportunities will come from the rural areas. Except for Bintulu, the other areas within SCORE are the most backward in terms of infrastructure development,” he is quoted as saying.

The Chief Minister said when the industries in SCORE are fully operational, the areas under the corridor would eventually outpace developmental growth in other areas in what he described as a “catch up” plan.

The five New Growth Nodes are Tanjung Manis, Mukah, Samalaju, Baram and Tunoh. These are the areas where investment efforts within the corridor would be focussed.

There is a strategic development plan to ensure that each growth node would have its own focus:

  • Mukah — Smart City: nerve centre for the corridor.
  • Tanjung Manis — Industrial Port City and Halal Hub.
  • Samalaju — Heavy Industry Centre
  • Baram and Tunoh — tourism and resource based industries.

These will not be the only areas to benefit as the synergy between the five New Growth Nodes would drive development and growth for Secondary Growth Centres, such as Semop, Balingian, Selangau, Samarakan, Bakun and Ng. Merit.

That means that residents of these rural areas will have a host of job opportunities. There wouldn’t be a need to search for jobs in the cities or further afield because the chance to earn a good living would be very close to home. Even if they don’t work directly for these industries, all the workers would require transportation, housing, food, clothing etc.

SCORE is expected to generate over one million jobs, out of which about 52 per cent would be for semi-skilled workers.

This is why the Government is focussed on skills training so that our own Sarawakians are capable of excelling at the jobs.

Pehin Sri Taib also pointed out that young people should not worry about having blue collar jobs as they offer high pay and bright career paths as well.

In fact, it has been estimated that highly skilled welders under SCORE could earn up to RM10,000 a month!

Everyone is blessed with different talents. Thanks to strategic planning, there will be employment opportunities for workers with various capabilities.

Isn’t it great that the State Government is determined to really empower Sarawakians by providing education for lifelong knowledge and skills, creating real job opportunities, and diversifying the economy for truly long-term growth?

Real transformation for a secure future for all Sarawakians and not just for those in urban centres! Real transformation and not just passing change.

How Borneo Post reported it:

Catch-up devt plan — State to focus on rural development to narrow rural-urban gap

By Churchill Edward

BETONG: The state government is putting concerted efforts to spur development in the rural areas to close the rural-urban development gap.

Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the ‘catch-up’ plan would entail the government remaining focussed on developing rural areas.

Describing it as a shared responsibility, he said for the plan to run smoothly the rural people must support government programmes and initiatives to improve their socio-economic status.

Citing the development of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), Taib said: “As we all know, bigger economic potential now will come from the rural areas. Bigger opportunity will come from the rural areas. Except for Bintulu, the other areas within SCORE are the most backward in terms of infrastructure development.”

He also said when development in SCORE picked up steam it would eventually outpace developmental growth in other development areas.

That, he said, prompted the government to come up with the ‘catch up’ plan to intensify and ensure equal development in all the rural areas of the state.

He said this when officiating at the Betong Division 10th anniversary celebration here yesterday.

Taib, who is also Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, said it was timely that SCORE was established to attract people with brains to Sarawak.

With SCORE expected to generate more than one million jobs, out of which about 52 per cent would be for semi-skilled workforce (higher than the 32 per cent required in normal situations), he advised students to take up skilled and semi-skilled courses that would prepare them for the jobs.

At the same time, he told students not to worry about doing blue collar jobs as they offer were high pay and a bright career path.

On rural transformation, he said it would not be impossible for rural folks to improve their livelihood as long as they were willing to change their old ways of doing things, citing mechanisation as one way for them to hasten output and reap higher returns besides being more organised and systematic in their endeavours.

The celebration was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Betong MP and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas, state senior ministers Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom (Social Development Minister) and Tan Sri Dr James Masing (Land Development Minister) as well as Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong and State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohammad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

In his welcoming speech, Jabu who is also Layar assemblyman, said since he got elected in 1974 he had always stressed on parents to value education by sending their children to schools, colleges and universities.

“Education is very important because it helps open our mind to understand and appreciate the happenings us – and in the process motivates us to be proactive to think of ways we can contribute and benefit from our participation,” he said.

“Education opens our minds for greater opportunities to overcome greater challenges,” he pointed out.

Jabu stressed that apart from educational success of its residents, Betong stood out among other rural areas because the majority of its people were united under the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, resulting in political and economic stability.

“Betong is a BN bastion. The opposition here always lost in elections very badly with some candidates losing their deposits,” he said.

He also pointed out that Sarawak was the only state in Malaysia which allocated 70 per cent of its annual budget for development purposes and 30 per cent for operation.

“This is indeed a manifestation that the government is very responsible and cares for the people,” he said, attributing the success to Taib’s able leadership.

Around 2,500 people including students and community leaders converged on Dewan Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan to witness the anniversary celebration.

Apart from the cake cutting, the event also saw Uggah presenting to Taib the Betong Division Economic Report 2011 that spelt out the achievement of government development transformation programmes implemented for the benefit of the people until December last year.

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