IPOH, Feb 17 (Bernama) -- About four decades ago most of the villages
throughout the nation were lacking in basic amenities.
Villagers drank water from the wells, depended on kerosene lamps to light up
at night, cooked using firewood, walked on laterite roads and television was a
All that is history now. Thanks to a government that has always been
thinking ahead in transforming the lives of the people for the better.
The transformation process was started by the second prime minister Tun
Abdul Razak Hussein through better accessibility to public amenities, greater
education opportunities, resettling rural dwellers in plantation schemes and
rolling out affirmative policies to ensure no one is left out from mainstream
Though great progress has been made in achieving better living standards,
the struggle to reach out to the rural citizens is still on and this time it is
Razak''s son Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the sixth prime minister, who is leading
In reaching out to the masses in the outback, Najib believes the Rural
Transformation Centre (RTC) proposed by the Malaysian Blue Ocean Strategy
Institute (MBOSI) could well be the holy grail.
A PLATFORM TO CHANGE THE FATE
The RTC initiative under the National Blue Ocean Strategy 4 is to serve as a
conduit for the rural communities in seeking value added activities that create
economic impact and help multiply income.
The RTC Gopeng at the Terminal Agribisnes Negara (Teman) also expected to
help balance the development in different regions.
Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal
during a recent meeting with village heads in Perak at RTC Gopeng said the
centre would be the first of the many to be set up all over the nation.
"RTC will serve as the nerve centre in boosting the income and economic
activities in the rural areas. This is to be achieved by helping to open the
market for rural products including looking into the possibilities of exporting
them," he said.
KKLW and the Agriculture and Agro Based Industries ministry are the two
leading proponents in spearheading the implementation of RTCs along with the
cooperation of Higher Education Ministry, Health Ministry and Finance Ministry.
Shafie also pointed out that RTCs also serve as integrated service
centres to collect, process and distribute agricultural produce, provide banking
and insurance service, business consulting service, provide training especially
in skills, healthcare and space to conduct business.
Both the Gopeng RTC and the next RTC in Wakaf Che Yeh in Kelantan would also
serve as an important platform for the rural youngsters to seek employment and
pick up entrepreneurial skill.
ROPING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
KKLW''s secretary general Datuk Ibrahim Mohamad illustrated RTC Gopeng''s
outreach that extends to all those living within 100km from the centre.
RTC Gopeng is literally a one stop centre with most of the public oriented
departments - Road Transport Department (JPJ), Immigration, National
Registration Department (JPN), Federal Economic Development Foundation (YAPEIM),
Yayasan Tekun, Pos Malaysia, Health Clinic and Agro Bank - providing services.
Services of the private sector too have been roped in including of Kontena
Nasional that is to provide logistic services.
The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority''s (Fama) Director-General
Ahmad Ishak during the initial briefing early this month highlighted that the
private sector too have a hand in bolstering the activities at RTC Gopeng.
Thus hypermarkets too would be operating at RTC where they would be
cooperating with local agricultural entrepreneurs to distribute the agricultural
produce through their network, he said.
"The cooperation among the private sector, the public and the government
machinery will help develop the nation and in the bigger picture this will
benefit the people of Perak, Cameron Highlands (Pahang), Lojing(Kelantan) and
Selangor (Sabak Bernam).
OTHER NOTABLE ATTRIBUTES OF RTC
To keep rural communities informed, the RTCs will have the 1Malaysia
Information Kiosk to provide information on the services available. RTC Gopeng
now has five such kiosks
Another notable attribute of the RTC is that it also serves as the platform
to establish value added agricultural sector.
The RTCs also play a role in training entrepreneurs in the food processing
sector to meet the quality required to penetrate global market.
The centre also provides financial help through micro credit and under the
guidelines set by the finance ministry.
RTC GOPENG CARNIVAL
In conjunction with the launch of RTC Gopeng by Prime Minister on Saturday,
Fama is set to kick off the RTC Carnival.
Fama''s Director for Perak Basri Jasmo noted that the carnival is to
highlight that the RTC also serves as the collection and marketing centre for
rural agricultural produce.
About 15 government agencies will have their counters open from 10 am to 5
pm. Among them is the Royal Malaysia Police, which is to showcase its vehicles,
arms, history and career opportunities, an air unit show, forensics and bomb
Visitors to the carnival at RTC Gopeng can take the opportunity to shop or
get entertained by the numerous programmes.
ZAZ CR PR INE RON