TAWAU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said higher learning institutions play an important role in ensuring the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya(SMJ)development plan achieves its goal.
He cited the Ferti-Chillipreneur Komuniti Lestari (FCPKL) project at the Mara Technology University (UiTM) Sabah Tawau Campus as an example that could help to realise the State Government’s aspiration to develop the state and its people through agriculture, one of the three main SMJ thrusts.
Speaking at the presentation of the offer letter to participants of FCPKL at the UiTM Sabah Tawau campus here today, Hajiji said UiTM’s commitment to contribute to society through the transfer of knowledge and sharing of smart technology, especially to the B40 groups should be commended.
“Direct involvement of students as trainers can in stil a modern farming mindset via agriculture transformation towards a more high-tech, dynamic and global competitiveness.
“This coincides with the primary goal of the project, which is to use smart technology in chili cultivation by fertigation. This project gives full emphasis to the agenda of modern agriculture by utilising database, smart agricultural technology and the Internet of Things (IPB),” he said.
The Chief Minister added that a progressive and quality human capital is one of the factors supporting transformation and modernisation of the agriculture industry that inturn helps to boost productivity, more systematic processing and marketing as well as ensure sufficient domestic food supply and for exports.
The State Government hoped the project would create an economic spill-over in addition to employment for the local populace and nearby areas, he said.
The two-year programme involved 120 participants particularly single parents, army retirees, people with special needs and unemployed graduates cultivating 100 acres of land.
Hajiji commended the group of UiTM Sabah researchers – LESTARI (Leading Edge Technology Applications for Robust Impact) for initiating the RM7.5 million project acquired through the Bumiputera Entrepreneur Development Fund (DPUB).
UiTM Sabah has also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with TERAJU (Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera) for strategic cooperation.
The Chief Minister said the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah – Barisan Nasional (GRS-BN)State Government is committed to its development agenda for the people and the state, particularly through agriculture having allocated RM561.81 million in the 2022 Budget for this sector,” he said.
Several successes have already been achieved in enhancing the state’s agriculture sector among them, the 2,000 hectares high-yield coconut plantation project launched in Paitan, Beluran in March of this year.
Once fully operational, the high-yield coconut project, a high-impact investment under the SMJ plan, is expected to generate RM1.2 billion annually and provide 4,000 jobs for locals.
“Empowerment of the Bumiputera agenda and Malaysian Family is among the main goals of the five-year 12th Malaysia Plan targetting 15 per cent contribution from the micro, small and medium Bumiputera enterprises to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)by 2025.
“A total of RM11.4 billion has been allocated in 2022 to ensure the Bumiputera empowerment agenda is given priority to narrow the gap among races in Malaysia,” he said.
Of the amount, he said RM4.8 billion was set aside for the implementation of capacity building programme and business funding.
“These objectives are in line with the fourth and fifth plans of the Sabah Maju Jaya 1.0 to improve the people’s economy and build up human capital, especially the local community in Sabah,” he said.
Also present were State Secretary Datuk Seri Panglima Sr Safar Untong, UiTM Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Ts Dr Hajah Roziah Mohd Janor, Teraju Chief Executive Officer Datuk Md Silmi Abdul Rahman, Assistant Finance Minister Datuk Nizam Titingan, Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Andi Muhammad Suryady Bandy and Balung Assemblyman Hamild @ Hamid Awang.