Thursday, May 8, 2008

Three-phase plan to develop Sabah: Visiting foreign journalists given briefing on the SDC

text taken from nstonline
KOTA KINABALU: Journalists from 17 countries, including South Africa and Ukraine, are expected to report on steps being taken to turn Sabah into one of the most liveable places in Asia within two decades.

Institute for Development Studies Sabah (IDS) executive director Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari told 30 visiting journalists that the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) blueprint, launched in January, will make this vision come true in three phases.

He said the first phase focuses on addressing the basic elements to support tourism development and laying the foundations for future growth. World-class tourism infrastructure and services will be put in place, including nurturing a vibrant arts and culture scene.

"Phase two will focus on strengthening Sabah's position as a premier eco-adventure destination through conservation, research and sustainable development of new tourism products anchored by signature resorts.

"Phase three will see Sabah being transformed into one of the most liveable places in Asia - a bustling metropolis within a tropical paradise," Mohd Yaakub added.

The journalists, who spent six days here, attended a briefing on the state's development corridor on Tuesday.

Apart from several Malaysians, the other journalists were from Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Seychelles, Brunei and Indonesia.

Mohd Yaakub said among the major goals of the SDC was to triple Sabah's per capita gross domestic product to RM14,800 during the 18-year period set for the plan.

The SDC is also expected to create 900,000 new jobs, reduce unemployment to 3.5 per cent and eradicate poverty.

Mohd Yaakib said agriculture and specific projects, including the Pulau Banggi High Impact Rural Development Programme that will see 4,000ha of land developed into rubber plantations by Felcra Bhd, will help eradicate poverty in rural areas.

"Other poverty eradication measures include encouraging the low-income group to participate in planting cash crops."

He also said oil palm would remain the leading agriculture crop and that integrated farming such as livestock breeding would be encouraged at plantations.

He said to lure investors, competitive incentive packages would be offered to promote the agriculture, services and manufacturing sectors in the state.

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