Sarawak PKR had expressed curiosity as to how many of the 22,000 villages nationwide that will form a data bank known as the kampung profile would come from Sarawak.
“On behalf of Sarawakians, I would like the federal Minister of Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal (left) to firstly inform us when will this massive exercise of compiling detailed information will be completed and when will the report be released.
“Will the list and report be made public?” asked Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit.
“Secondly, I would like to ask the minister to divulge how many of these 22,000 nationwide villages include non-Muslim Dayak longhouses and villages under the criteria that his ministry has determined,” added Vernon when commenting on the minister’s recent statement.
Besides Bidayuh and Orang Ulu villages and longhouses, there are more than 6,000 Iban longhouses alone in Sarawak.
According to the minister, all information on each household including their health reports will be kept in the kampung profile data bank and will become a reference for the ministry to plan and implement development programmes based on the needs of each village and the people living in rural areas.
Shafie said the process of gathering information for the data bank would be led by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) with the cooperation of the Health Ministry to ensure the type of health requirements for the respective village such as a clinic, hospital or pharmacy and level of medical experts needed.
"Through the data bank, we hope to overcome wastage and ensure initiatives taken by the government reaches the target group quickly," he said after a Rural Transformation Central Committee meeting in Sepang, Selangor yesterday.
He said for a start, the ‘Kampung Profile’ would focus on the basic needs of villages before moving on to record details of the households, health reports, etc.
"We will also study details of issues that can become a stumbling block to implementing such initiatives," he was quoted by Bernama as saying.
In his statement Wednesday, Vernon said as the minister was fully aware there were more under-developed and completely undeveloped villages in Sarawak than in West Malaysia and as such PKR wanted to know if priority under this excellent initiative was to be given to Sarawak.
He hoped the ministry would include villages and longhouses in Sarawak in the 22,000 targeted villages as they were sorely lacking basic infrastructure or health services.
“Sarawakians, especially rural Sarawakians, have been sidelined from the bountiful fruits of development for 52 years since we formed this country. Our founding fathers did not sign up to form this country to only end up being treated like a second-class appendage.
“It is time for answers, and implementation of long forgotten promises,” said Vernon.