Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visiting a classroom during a walkabout at SK Pekan Telipok and SMK Pekan Telipok in Kota Kinabalu on Friday. BERNAMA PIC

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in Sabah over the weekend to launch the Hospital Universiti Malaysia Sabah (HUMS) project, a state-of-the-art facility that will groom more students in the field of medicine and healthcare.

Najib had also toured SK Pekan Telipok and SMK Pekan Telipok, two schools which have adopted a two-in-one approach to provide a more efficient and comprehensive educational development for the young generation in the area.

These are samples of what have been done and the plans drawn up for the people of Sabah under the Barisan Nasional government helmed by Najib. It is also part of the grand transformation plan that will elevate Malaysia to a progressive and developed nation.

The projects, among many others already completed, almost completed or in the pipeline in Sabah, will ensure the people are not left out of the mainstream development drive.

But, there are those who undermine what the BN government has done for the people and its transformation plans. They spread lies, hurl baseless allegations and pick on the slightest mistakes to make the government look bad.

It’s disappointing that much of what has been done seems to be ignored by people with ulterior motives, but I believe many prefer to listen to the voice of reason by looking at the facts, figures and achievements that are so clear for all to see.

The HUMS project and two-in-one approach of SK and SMK Pekan Telipok for instance, are there for all to see for themselves and much more.

HUMS is a Universiti Malaysia Sabah teaching hospital project, poised to be an iconic development which benefits not only students but those seeking healthcare at minimum cost.

Najib, when launching the project, said HUMS would be the first smart hospital in the country and region.

Besides projects, the poverty rate in Sabah has dropped from four per cent in 2014 to 2.9 per cent in 2016. It is the biggest drop, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s Report of Household Income And Basic Amenities Survey 2016.

This is a far cry from when I took over as chief minister in 2003. At the time, the poverty rate was hovering around 25 per cent and I do not want to see my people struggle in poverty. The state had some inherent economic issues and was troubled by them.

Eradicating poverty instinctively became one of my priorities, and the economic masterplan I introduced, called Halatuju, was the mechanism I eventually used to get things going.

I introduced the Halatuju agenda which focused on tourism, agriculture and manufacturing with emphasis on the socio-economic development agenda and the promotion of a better state-federal relationship — two critical ingredients to economic progress.

To set things in motion, I formed and chaired the state Poverty Eradication Steering Committee, a mechanism that looked into ways to help people elevate their socio-economic status.

One of the key programmes introduced was the Mini Estet Sejahtera or MESEJ, implemented with the aim of sustainably raising the income of the hardcore poor and improving their welfare.

There are now more than 50 units of agriculture, aquaculture and micro MESEJ programmes that have been completed, or are still ongoing in the state.

Fast forward to last year, some 30,000 people were lifted out of poverty, thanks to the programmes initiated by the government.

The opposition had also harped on land issues, claiming many were neglected. Through the Sabah Native Land Services programme or PANTAS, some 21,378 land lots covering 36,137.02ha and involving 92 villages throughout Sabah had been surveyed from 2011 until last year.

Under the Communal Grant programme by the Lands and Survey Department, a total of 73 communal grants were processed and ready to be issued involving 217 villages in 12 districts covering 49,405.64ha during the same period.

Moving forward, under the 11th Malaysia Plan, Sabah has been allocated RM3.87 billion to implement various development projects.

This is where the importance of strong state and federal ties matters along with a prime minister who understands our needs and feels the pulse of the people through BN leaders.

Other allocations were RM1 billion for the development of the Pan-Borneo Highway under the five-year 11th Malaysia Plan, RM1 billion for the upgrading and upkeep of dilapidated schools, and RM250 million for Eastern Sabah Security Command or Esscom to boost security in the east coast and border areas, among others.

There is still much to do for Sabah and its people and I acknowledge that. But, to spread fake news, false allegations and undermine what the BN government has done for Sabah is wrong.

The needs of the people will not be neglected — not on my watch.

Tan Sri Musa Aman is Sabah Chief Minister

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