PETALING JAYA: Rural development is not just about building skyscrapers and highways but about providing better economic opportunities in remote areas, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic).
“The measure of success for rural development has never been based on the number of tall skyscrapers, rows of mega buildings, elevated roads or crowded residential areas.
“It is about ensuring rural areas have equal economic opportunities as urban areas which will improve their overall quality of life,” the Rural and Regional Development Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday (Dec 13).
He noted that rural development had become increasingly important due to the increasing amount of city folk moving to rural areas over the past decade.
“In 2020 alone, around 18.1% of the people living in urban areas moved to rural areas whereas only around 3% of rural people moved to urban areas.
“This means more people with innovative work experience, skills and economics are going to rural areas which should improve the economy and increase opportunities there.
“However, there is still a wide economic gap between urban and rural areas with a median income of RM3,828 for rural households compared to RM6,561 for urban areas, according to the latest data from 2019.
“The poverty rate of rural areas is also significantly high at 12.4% compared to Malaysia’s overall poverty rate which was only 5.6% in 2019,” he said, noting that the margin in wages between rural and urban areas continued to increase over the years.
He added that he would be revealing the ministry’s action plan and key performance indicators (KPI) to address the issues in the near future.-The Star