Sarawak allocates RM100 million to promote rural entrepreneurship

SIBU: Sarawak will allocate a total sum of RM100 million towards a venture capital fund to help promote rural entrepreneurship development, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the rural agricultural support programme which comes under the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Ministry would be implemented next year.

"If we have role models for Farmer's, Breeders' and Fishermen's Day, we will distribute the funds to them so that they can continue to improve on their agricultural farming efforts," he said at a Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering organised by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu here, last night.

Abang Johari said the state government's effort to upgrade internet speed was also aimed at assisting rural entrepreneurs to market their products through digital platforms, as a new way to develop Sarawak's economy.

"In this way, digital technology can further boost rural agricultural productivity and the products can be marketed overseas to generate more income," he said.

Meanwhile, the chief minister said the state government would build hydroelectric dams to provide clean water supply to the rural areas in Sarawak.

According to him, water from the rivers could no longer be relied on to provide clean water supply as there were risk of water shortages and the rivers were often polluted.

"Previously we get our water supply from the rivers, but nowadays the stored water at the Batang Ai and Murum hydroelectric dams are treated and supplied to the longhouses, schools and villages in the rural areas.

"This is a new approach and we will build a pipeline grid to channel clean water to the rural communities including schools which do not have access to clean water," he said.

Abang Johari said the state government was committed in its efforts to upgrade over 1,000 dilapidated rural schools including 460 schools which were in critical condition and severely lacking infrastructure facilities.

He said the state government would upgrade the schools with state funds first and later claim the amount spent from the federal government. — Bernama