SLDB TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF AGROPOLITAN SCHEMES

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KOTA KINABALU, Aug 24 (Bernama) -- The Sabah Land Development Board’s (SLDB)

main thrust over the next two years is to ensure the successful implementation

of three of its agropolitan schemes as well as opening up new land for oil palm

in the interior.

In a statement today, SLDB said it was committed to help the state develop

land in partnership with the people, especially the poor in the far-reaching

rural areas.

It said the agropolitan schemes, a government transformation project, aimed

to alleviate hardcore poverty in the state.

"They are designed to ensure its participants would benefit and be paid

dividends from income generated from its economic activities.

"Once fully implemented, the three integrated schemes -- Tongod, Tenom and

Lingkabau -- would have various infrastructure, utilities, houses, schools and

health clinics and accommodate over 3,500 participating families," it said.

SLDB is one of the agencies entrusted by the Sabah state government to

develop land issued under the communal titles together with the village

participants.

It said the first oil palm-based agropolitan scheme at Tongod, covering

almost 4,000 hectares, would be ready for implementation by year-end once the

environmental impact assessment report was approved.

An oil palm nursery has since been set up and the management team

mobilised, it said.

The board said while oil palm would be the main crop, it would also reserve

a portion of the land –- community economic zone -- for livestock rearing as

well as the growing of cash crops, which would give the participants additional

income.

On the Mini Estet Sejahtera programme (MESEJ), another state government

initiative to eradicate poverty, it said 14 98-hectare oil palm mini estates

were now at various stages of maturity.

MESEJ is a programme under the Ministry of Rural Development and SLDB has

been appointed to develop and manage these mini estates.

SLDB said it has also been given the mandate by the Sabah Economic

Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) to develop and manage the Keningau

Integrated Livestock Centre project in Sook.

"The project will start off with an initial herd of 500 head to produce

meat

(beef) and milk for local consumption as well as export.

"Tendering process by SEDIA for infrastructure work is being carried out at

the moment," it said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman, has advised the SLDB

management to be prudent on its spending and ensure that profits were ploughed

back into projects that were beneficial for the people.

Musa said this at the ceremony to hand over SLDB dividend to the state

government here today.

He said SLDB should continue with proven projects rather than venture into

areas outside its scope and expertise, which could lead to failure.

"The money must be spent wisely as it belongs to the people and SLDB is

entrusted to use the money within the necessities that include development of

land and operation works," he said.

SLDB is paying a dividend of RM10 million to the state government, its third

over the last five years.

It paid RM1 million in 2006 and RM20 million in 2007.

No payments were made in 2008 and 2009 as SLDB was in expansion mode.

Last year, it paid out some RM16.752 million in dividend to 3,474 settlers,

participants and smallholders who are partners in its various oil palm-related

projects statewide.

Up to July this year, some RM14 million in dividends were also paid to

the same group of people. -- BERNAMA

NT THS

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