KOTA KINABALU (WED): The launching of the 12th Malaysia Plan by the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri was timely as the country faces major economic challenges brought about by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his statement today, IDS CEO Anthony Kiob stated IDS and Sabah welcome the transformative approach outline in the 12th Malaysia plan to reset the economy.  “The emphasised given on the three themes namely strengthening security, wellbeing and inclusivity; and advancing sustainability is indeed pertinent to bring our economy back on track,” Anthony said.

“IDS strongly support radical approach outlined in the plan particularly in addressing development gap,” said Anthony. Under the plan a game changer to multiply growth of less developed states in particular Sabah and Sarawak is specified with the aim of reducing development gap between these states and the rest of the country.

Anthony said the issue of poverty remain critical in Sabah especially in the rural areas. “We are glad the 12th Malaysia plan acknowledges that much effort are still required to tackle the poverty issue especially in states like Sabah which continues to record high poverty rate,” said Anthony.

“Income disparity and lack of new economic activities to generate income remain challenges that urgently need to be addressed particularly in Sabah,” Anthony stated.

“Despite having abundant land resources, our farmers in the rural areas are still struggling to make a living from agriculture activities. Adopting technologies could be the key to increase productivity. As such it is rightfully that the 12th Malaysia Plan put a focus on smart farming as a strategy to reset the economy,” said Anthony.

“IDS currently is heavily involved in developing district strategic plans and working closely with district offices with the main objective of highlighting the districts economic strength and resources. This is so that the strength and resources can be channelled properly to vibrate socioeconomic development and unleash the economic potentials of the district,” he said. This is in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan which aimed on sustainable economic practice as spelled out under theme 3 of the plan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our economy hard and Sabah which heavily relies on tourism as the major contributor to its GDP is highly affected by the pandemic. Anthony said it will be interesting to see how the 12th Malaysia Plan under the theme 1 of resetting the economy able to provide specific assistance to help Sabah rejuvenates its tourism industry. “Services sector has been identified as one of key economic sectors that will be given attention under the 12th Malaysia plan,” he said.

In response to the proposal to set up state recovery council by the National recovery council, chaired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Anthony said he is in full support of this idea. The national council proposed that each state in Malaysia set up their own state recovery council to identify activities and steps to help accelerate the economic recovery processes. The national council believes that adopting the bottom-up approach will give the planners clearer pictures on what best to be done on the ground to revive the affected economic sectors. The state councils through districts offices would be able to closely monitor the implementation of all overall initiatives for economic recoveries. In relation to this, Anthony said all programmes and proposals under the 12th Malaysia Plan can be effectively implemented with the monitoring done at the districts level.

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