12th November, 2012
Dr Maximus, accompanied by Matunggong Assemblyman Sarappin Magana (2nd right) Tandek elected representative Anita Baranting (right) district officer Luvita Koisun and others at one of the booths displaying agricultural produce.
KOTA MARUDU: Various development programmes have been undertaken to make Kota Marudu northern Sabah’s economic hub, and more are in the pipeline.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu MP, said there must be continuity for these development and transformative programmes to take place for the benefit of the people.
He said the government was embarking on serious development plans to uplift the socio-economic status of rural people and the efforts could only be effective with continuity.
Dr Maximus was speaking at the launch of the 12th annual Pesta Jagung, which is an annual feature in the district to highlight and promote corn and other agricultural products by farmers in Kota Marudu.
He also said one of the major economic projects in the pipeline that would also benefit Kota Marudu was the aquaculture prawn rearing project in Pitas, a project under the National Key Economic Areas.
The factory which would export prawns to Korea, Japan and China, would require 1,000 workers and this would also contribute to job creation for Kota Marudu folks.
The project, he added, would also require corn as source of protein for feed, thus providing another potential source of income for farmers in the district.
Dr Maximus added that his ministry’s agency, Technology Park Malaysia, had also developed a virgin coconut oil extraction machine which could be used by farmers and revive the coconut industry in Kota Marudu.
Apart from this, there were also plans to introduce a corn variety from China to improve production in Kota Marudu.
“Agriculture is still the economic mainstay in Kota Marudu, contributing to 70 per cent of the economic activities here with oil palm, rubber and paddy being the top three,” he said.
He also said the government was caring to the people’s needs, including in rural Kota Marudu which had been allocated RM230million for water reticulation system for implementation in 2011 and 2012. Apart from this, 18 villages have already been connected to the electricity grid this year.
Kota Marudu had also seen infrastructure development including schools and major road connections. “There is also a plan to have dual carriage road for Kota Marudu because the current road cannot cater to the increasing traffic volume in the town area. The land procurement for this purpose is expected to be done next year,” Dr Maximus said.
“This is why we need continuity in the administration so that we can ensure our pursuit for development and the transformation we are introducing will continue to be carried out,” he said, adding that the handing out of the in Kota Marudu would begin Jan 15 next year.
The Pesta Jagung featured several exciting activities designed for public participation as well as to preserve traditional community activities.
These included competition to cook corn-based dishes, cultural shows, ratu jagung (corn queen) and fashion competition, drawing and reading contest, corn-themed craft competition, lantern competition and traditional sports such as tug-of-war.
There were also exhibition booths set by up government agencies and the private sector.