Balancing the economic gap between urban and rural areas

KUALA LUMPUR (October 4): The 2023 budget, due to be tabled this Friday, is expected to outline efforts to balance the infrastructure and basic amenities development gap between urban and rural areas.

The Dean of the Faculty of Human Ecology at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Professor Mohd Fazli Sabri, said it was important to ensure that the socio-cultural development of people in rural areas is in tandem with that of the inhabitants of urban areas, as it would also have an impact on the economic well-being of the country.

“We cannot ignore that there are still rural areas that lack basic amenities such as roads, housing, electricity and water supply, as well as internet access.

“We can see it, especially in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, where residents still face communication problems, no street lights, dilapidated and damaged bridges and poor internet coverage. nil or weak,” he said.

Therefore, he said, the 2023 budget should include improving basic facilities in rural areas to enable a more equitable distribution of wealth, while facilitating local economic growth.

He said the government should make efforts and take immediate action to ensure that the needs of the people are met since basic facilities are the basic rights of every Malaysian.

He said this was also in line with the Rural Development Policy 2030, which aims for 95% of rural residents to enjoy basic amenities by 2025.

“When the basic facilities are completed, it will stimulate economic activities in rural areas, including entrepreneurship and further develop the potential of rural products to a wider market,” he said.

Senior Lecturer at the Center for Government Studies, College of Law, Government & International Studies (COLGIS), Universiti Utara Malaysia, Associate Professor Dr Azlizan Talib said government should help diversify economic resources in rural areas by providing community support programs.

“Diversity in the generation of economic opportunities is necessary to overcome poverty and disparity and we are also aware of many potentials and prospects in rural areas that can be optimally exploited for the benefit of local people such as resources for tourism, small and medium industries and micro-entrepreneurship,” he said.

Regarding the Orang Asli community, Azlizan said the government should carry out more development in their settlements so that they too can reap the benefits of modernization.

Azlizan, who is also a researcher at the Research Institute for Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, Ghazali Shafie Graduate School of Government, said the government should provide Orang Asli colonies with the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the search for people. works.

“Rationally, this group is ready to accept change, especially the second generation and later because they are more open to reform. This effort is important to preserve the uniqueness of the indigenous community,” he added.