Ensure proposals in mid-term review of 12MP implemented, says CAP

GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) are upbeat on the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

The association said it welcomed efforts to promote economic prosperity, wipe out core poverty, fight corruption, improve the quality of life of people and address the climate crisis.

However, CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the plan would remain just a plan unless it is implemented efficiently and effectively to achieve the desired outcomes.

"It is encouraging that, unlike previous Malaysia Plans, the mid-term review provides for a special committee to be set up to monitor the implementation and to identify the obstacles to achieving the set targets.

"The resources allocated under the mid-term review to upgrade 1,200 dilapidated public clinics will benefit many in the lower income group, who cannot afford treatment in private clinics and hospitals.

"Increased funds should be allocated for public healthcare to improve the facilities in the public hospitals and clinics, which serve the vast majority of our population.

"Disease prevention must be given high priority through conducting education programmes and effective campaigns to promote healthy living," he said today.

Mohideen also said that food security was becoming a critical global issue and the mid-term review had placed agriculture and agro-based industries among the five high-growth high-value sectors.

This, he noted, was a wise move, as in the past, food agriculture had a low priority.

"Malaysia is over-dependent on food imports and this must be corrected to become food self-sufficient.

"The authorities should provide incentives to young people, particularly agriculture graduates, to take up farming and introduce innovations to upgrade farm productivity.

"Organic agriculture and urban agriculture must be promoted to meet our needs for food.

"Farmers cooperatives can be set up in towns to market the farmers' produce without going through middlemen and provide cheaper food to consumers," he added.

He also said that housing was a major problem in the larger towns.

He added that the mid-term review goal of providing 500,000 homes within reach was commendable as a short-term measure.

"We need a housing policy that places primary responsibility on the government to provide housing, a basic need.

"The current policy of giving state and federal lands to private developers under joint-venture agreements to build mostly expensive houses and condos for the rich must be stopped.

"A National Housing Board should be set up to develop housing and business units to sell or rent.

"It should prioritise social housing and rental units, especially for the lower income groups, homeless and workers who come to city centres to seek employment. It should develop housing on state and federal lands and those lands belonging to public authorities," he explained.

He noted that these lands should not be given or sold to private developers for any purpose.

It could also acquire land for social housing and develop land banks for housing throughout the country, he added.

On the climate crisis, Mohideen said the mid-term review's adoption of the national adaptation plan to address its impacts was commendable but long overdue.

The government, he stressed, must allocate enough funds for mitigation and adaptation measures.

"There must be no deforestation and development on fragile hill slopes and highlands.

"All proposals for coastal and sea reclamation activities in Malaysia, especially the Penang Silicon Island reclamation project planned by the Penang government, must be rejected.

"Only reclamation activities for essential public services should be allowed," he pointed out, adding that degraded coastal areas ought to be rehabilitated with suitable tree species.

Mohideen also said there was an urgent need to stop corruption and promote good governance, transparency.

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