KOTA KINABALU: The Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK), as a grassroots-level administrative institution, is seen to have a significant role in supporting the government’s effort to eradicate poverty in Sabah.

Besides focusing on empowering village organisational management and development in their respective areas, JKKK should also be more proactive in providing input and feedback to the relevant ministries regarding the poverty situation among the population.

Sabah Rural Development Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim said the village leadership should propose relevant recommendations and strategies, as they are crucial in enabling the government to formulate integrated efforts to combat poverty comprehensively and effectively.

“First of all, village leadership needs to understand their duties and roles (in assisting the government in fighting poverty). The government is willing to provide assistance to facilitate everything they wish to implement.

“(However,) it is important to thoroughly consider all aspects beforehand to ensure that these suggestions can be accepted (as a programme) that can be executed with the right approach to achieve the goal of eradicating poverty,” he told Bernama.

Efforts to eradicate poverty have become one of the primary agendas outlined by the Unity Government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which will continue under the Budget 2024.

This commitment is evident through the allocation of RM500 million to increase the participation of hardcore poor citizens in the People’s Income Initiative programme next year to boost their income, apart from other programmes such as the Rahmah Cash Aid and Rahmah Basic Contributions.

Jahid said the JKKK should pay close attention to the situation of the hardcore poor so that government assistance can be channelled to help enhance their economic status and income.

This includes identifying the resident’s level of poverty to ensure that this issue can be addressed according to their needs and priority, he added.

“We cannot neglect or ignore them. We must address each issue based on its case and severity.

“There needs to be a discussion to determine what is the most important one to be resolved first to avoid mistakes in selection. We need to identify which individuals fall under the hardcore poor category,” said the Tamparuli assemblyman.

In a related development, Jahid emphasised the importance of leadership empowerment programmes within the village administrative institution, which aim to develop and strengthen the personalities and integrity of individuals appointed to these roles.

He said the institution plays a significant role in realising the government’s commitment to bridging the development gap between urban and rural areas, thus achieving sustainable rural development goals.

Sabah Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, when tabling the Sabah Budget 2024, said that a series of JKKK Management and Administration Courses have been scheduled by the state Rural Development Ministry to be conducted next year.

Meanwhile, under the Budget 2024, the Rural and Regional Development Ministry has allocated RM5,000 to each JKKK to organise various community development programmes next year.

In Sabah, there are a total of 2,853 village development and security committees. - Bernama

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