HDA’s agenda to fast track development in the highland

HDA BOARD MEETS: Uggah (seated, fourth right) in a group photo with (seated, from left) Wilson, Ismawi, Henry, Jabu, Gerawat, Anyi, and Dennis, as well as (standing, from left) representative from SEB, Leslie Chai, representative from Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, Philip Ng, representative from SPU, Rita Toyad, and Buckland.

KUCHING: Highland Development Agency (HDA) has set its sights on bringing a faster pace of development to the highland areas, particularly through commercial agriculture production.

As such, it has set its priority now on ascertaining the most suitable areas for commercial agriculture, namely for farming and the production of highland crops, as well as planning for the infrastructure and facilities needed in the highland areas.

HDA – an agency set up this year under Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) – is also closely monitoring the construction progress of the Integrated Highland Agriculture Station (IHAS) that is being built at Long Peluan and is expected to be a catalyst for the development of agriculture in the highland areas.

At HDA’s 2nd Board Meeting here yesterday, its Chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas stressed on the importance of realising the potential of modern agriculture to transform the highland areas, particularly in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) from Long Lama up to Upper Baram, as well as the highland areas in Limbang and Lawas.

“Our priority now is to have the infrastructure and facilities, because only once they’re up and running can we implement all our plans.

“We also need to identify the available land assets in the HDA area so that we can attract investors and accelerate our development efforts in the highland,” said Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land & Regional Development.

He was updated on some of these issues by Land and Survey Department, and Department of Agriculture during the HDA Board Meeting.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of RECODA, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot briefed the HDA Board on the various proposed infrastructure projects that will facilitate the development plans within the HDA area, as well as providing the opportunities for the local communities to participate in economic activities, starting with the farming of kelulut or stingless bees.

Apart from that, Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) was invited to brief HDA on its Community Innovation Centre for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), which covers the four northern states in Peninsular Malaysia, while Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) gave a briefing on its Rural Entrepreneurship Hub initiative.

The private sector was also invited to brief the HDA Board on their respective agriculture-related projects, namely AgroBank, RH Resources Sdn Bhd and Samling Resources Sdn Bhd.

HDA Board members present at the meeting included HDA Advisor Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Alfred Jabu anak Numpang; State Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker and Mulu Assemblyman Dato Gerawat Gala, who is also Deputy Chairman of HDA; Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister and Lawas Member of Parliament Dato Henry Sum Agong; Baram Member of Parliament Anyi Ngau; Telang Usan Assemblyman Dennis Ngau; Deputy State Secretary (Socio Economic Transformation) Datu Haji Ismawi Haji Ismuni; and Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land & Regional Development Permanent Secretary Buckland Bangik.

Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Utilities, State Planning Unit of the Chief Minister’s Department (SPU), and Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) were also represented at the HDA Board meeting.

Also present were Limbang Resident Datu Maria Hasman and Miri Resident Sherrina Hussaini, both of whom were ex-officio members of the HDA Board.

Ends

Prepared by RECODA
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