As the new Chief Minister of Sabah I undertook the responsibility as the Chief Executive of the state with the launching of
a new all encompassing and holistic agenda to bring about development and progress for the state and its people.
This agend is called the HALATUJU PEMBANGUNAN DAN KEMAJUAN NEGERI SABAH or ‘Halatuju’.
The Halatuju focuses on the economic, social as well as the political dimensions of the state’s development.
It is made of six (6) sub-agendas:
(i) Economy Agenda
The economic development focuses on three thrust sectors, namely Agriculture, Tourism and Manufacturing.
The agriculture sector:
- It needs to be modernized
- Increase in productivity and output of products
- Generate more value-added products
- Improve the quality of products
- Reduce reliance of imported food products
- The introduction of the concept of zoning
Sabah’s mega biodiversity shall be protected and optimized through research and development carried out by experts from universities, public and private institutions. Biotechnology and bio-economy will be among the new growth areas for the state of Sabah.
The Federal government’s assistance will also be fully utilized to ensure the success of the agricultural sector, whilst the private sectors will be encouraged to participate.
The tourism sector:
- Expand the development of appropriate infrastructures.
- Attract more visitors through strategic marketing (targeting 2.7 million tourists within a period of 5 years)
- Explore new niche market/products
- Generate employment which to serve the needs of the locals
The manufacturing sector:
- Strengthen the roles and contributions of SMIs and SMEs
- Assist in developing necesssary basic infrastructures
- Encourage the process of modernization
Development in Sabah has to be based on the existing strength specifically its rich natural resources. These resources are available and some has yet to be fully exploited for benefit the development of the state and nation.
We will develop the three thrust sectors based on the corridor concept. Three main corridors have been identified i.e. Western Corridor, Central Corridor, and Eastern Corridor. In each corridor a leading industry will be established together with supporting industries. For example, technology – based industries will be the leading industry in the Western Corridor, with the area between Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Kota Kinabalu Industrial Precinct (KKIP) as being most strategic.
In the context of development Sabah Agricultural Industrial Precinct (SAIP) is yet another example of the use of the precinct concept. On the other hand, commercialized paddy cultivation will be implemented on the basis of the zoning concept, whereby the local strengths identified will be optimally exploited.
The State will also adopt the national agenda to transform the state economy from P-economy to K-economy. However, in the context of Sabah the P-economy will remain to play a vital role, as a complement to the new knowledge-based economy.
(ii) Social Development Agenda
A more holistic development addresses both the present and future needs. The process of development and progress requires systematic and comprehensive planning addressing the multiple dimensions involved; economic, social, politics, culture and human resource. In this context, the social agenda is meant to balance the economic dimensions of growth. This balance is a necessity, among others to reduce the negative impacts of a fast paced economic development.
Balanced development will also emphasizes the need to bring about equality between urban and rural areas, commercial and traditional sectors and so forth.
Among the key issues addressed:
- To ereadicate the hardcore poor and the rural poor, thus reducing the high rate of poverty in the state
- Providing basic infrastructures like water, electricity and low and medium cost houses
- State Working Committee on Poverty Eradication will be reactivated to coordinate and monitor the various programmes undertaken
- To ensure the Bumiputera are not marginalized in the process of development (especially in the urban areas)
- To improve both the standard and quality of life
- Cleanliness and conducive environment both in the urban and rural areas.
(ii) Political Agenda
We have to accept the fact that Sabah is made up of diverse identities, traditions and cultures. We see this as an asset and strength and it incumbent on us to harness these as a positive input into the development of the State and the Nation. We can ill afford to have intra-cultural frictions as it will create avenues for manipulations by internal as well as outside sources.
The challenges we are facing today are global in nature. Thus, no ethnic group must feel that it do it alone. Rather it requires the strength of the whole State and Nation. We must be united nation come 2020. Among the areas that will be given priority are:
- A resounding win for Barisan Nasional in the coming state election
- Strengthening unity amongst the various ethnic groups through the concept and practice of ‘Unity in Diversity’
- This strengthening of unity will be based on ‘ethnic trust building’
- To ensure that UMNO’s roles and position as the core component of Barisan Nasional remains intact
(iv) Human Resource Development Agenda
The development process depends more on the human factor. People are an important and strategic asset of the state. Without people and their enhanced potentials we could not make the development process a success.
The information era requires highly knowledgeable people with multiple skills and competencies to address future challenges. Sabah has many of educational and training institutions, thus, preparing knowledge workers should be given a priority. The issue of concern is how to produce talented and skilled k-workers that are appropriate to Sabah’s development. We need to produce rural facilitators, rural entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial scientists and technologists.
(v) Agenda to Enhance the Delivery System
The state machinery needs to be more efficient and productive as it faces new challenges and aspiration of the people. To ensure that it can play an effective role and be more people and business friendly a number of initiatives have been taken; among others introducing the concept and practice of ‘reinventing government’ and e-government.
Further there is a need to strength the following:-
- Enhance the capability and effectiveness of organizational management
- Enhance quality of professionalism through knowledge, competencies and skills
- Strengthen the culture of accountability
(vi) Strengthening the Federal and State Relationship Agenda
In the context of nation building there is the need to establish a cordial relationship between the State and Federal governments. Since the Barisan Nasional come to power it becomes a priority that this cordial relationship is sustained at all times.
In this context the State Government endevours to maintain better understanding and working relationships at all levels.
Some background information on the need for the introduction of the ‘Halatuju’.
The progress of the people and the State depends on our reflection and understanding of history. We should learn from our weaknesses through hindsight and ensure they are not repeated.
In the past, Sabah is well known for its rich and diversified natural treasures especially its forests, in particular its timber. This natural resource, however, has dwindled substantially, mainly due to poor management. Then the focus was for short-term gains. The development planning carried out did not emphasize on long-term needs.
In addition, the government in Sabah changed frequently. Every two terms the government was replaced. These changes affected the continuity of our state development policies drastically. There is no continuity!
In this sense, since the Barisan Nasional was given the opportunity to lead the State, we are working hard to create a politically stable environment to realize the culture of continuity. Development planning and progress of the state is based on the long term vision and mission that priortized the future of the people (rakyat) and the Nation. This is what the Halatuju is in essence.
Further, the Halatuju was developed taking into perspective of the global, regional, national and state scenarios. Sabah does not exist in isolation especially in this boardless world dominated by globalization.