Tuaran: The cost of housing construction for the hardcore poor in Sabah and Sarawak has been raised to RM40,000 per unit so as to provide comfort for the occupants later. Rural and Regional Development Minister, Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Taib said the previous rate for a unit was between RM22,300 and RM25,300. The decision was made at the Federal Cabinet on Oct. 1 that includes also a new rate of RM12,000 to repair dilapidated houses in Sabah and Sarawak.
The new rates would be applied to housing projects under the People's Welfare Development Scheme (SPKR) that were implemented by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development.
"In the peninsula, the rate for hardcore poverty housing has also been raised to RM33,000 a unit while the repair rate to RM11,000," he said.
He said the new rates would help to eradicate hardcore poverty in rural areas by 2010 and also reduce the poverty rate to 2.8 per cent. The current poverty rate in the country is 5.7 per cent. To ensure the effectiveness in the implementation of the SPKR housing scheme, he urged all elected representatives to forward detailed information on hardcore poor families to his Ministry. Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor, Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Louis Rampas, District Officer Awang Shamsi Jamih and state Kemas Director, Mohd Kadri Ahmad.
Meanwhile, Kampung Mengkabong here will be the first settlement in Sabah to be restructured by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry. Muhammad said the coastal village is the oldest and largest fishing settlement in Sabah and hence must be provided with basic amenities.
"From what I saw today (Sunday), there are many amenities that must be built here such as houses and bridges," he said after visiting the village. Nevertheless, Muhammad said the matter would first have to be discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. He said the 500-year-old fishing village seriously requires development particularly to restructure it.
According to him, they would need at least RM40 million to implement the restructuring programme.
On other developments, he said that there are many places in Sabah's rural areas such as Pulau Bangi, Sebatik, Lahad Datu, Pinangah and Pensiangan, among others that needed development.
He said that a total of 15,000 units of houses would be built for the hardcore poor in Sabah involving a cost of RM500 million.
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