Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rural Development Revisited

People don't talk much about rural development now. Felda and Felcra seem to dominate the development scene in the rural areas while the SMIs (Small and Medium Scale Industries) seem to favor the urban and suburban areas rather than the rural interior on the country. As for modernized agricultural development, we do see some efforts in reclaiming rice fields which had been abandoned, though much as in Penang, the fields have been turned into manufacturing and housing development areas.

As for the rural villages the last known policy adopted by government was the 'one village one product' program. How has this programme been translated into action, especially in the light of the SMI development agenda? Are we beginning to see rural villages coming up with various industrial or handicraft products, achieving the quality than can make them worthy of export promotion? Except for Batiks and Orchids, we still don't hear of anything that has become internationally known. With rubber and palmoil production receiving solid competition from other countries now, what is Malaysia's no. 1 product? Neither tin nor timber, neither Proton cars nor petroleum by-products.

It is my firm belief that the rural areas hold a great potential to become the engine of growth for SMI products. The infrastructural and capital requirements ( with so many funds being established) seem to be already in place.So what is lacking? Political willpower,entrepreneural leadership and skilled labour force perhaps. Does the 'one village one product' pokicy support SMI development in the rural areas and vice versa? Or do we want the villages to go back to rice farming, poultry rearing, or rubber smallholding activities?

As of now the revival or re-energizing of UMNO in the rural areas seem to hold top priority. Is this going to work when most of the youths have migrated to the urban areas. Yes they may go back home to the villages to cast their votes but do they know the Wakil Rakyat and vice versa. More than half a century of independence and we have yet to see a real effort to modernize the village economy is being done we for Felda, The young people are leaving the villages in droves and many villages are already
"underpopulated' except on festive days. The problem of rural to urban migration has been known since the 1960's yet nothing much has been done to bring back the youths to the villages thjrough economic and job-related attractions. Is the 'one village one product' policy productive at all and can it produce something for which Malaysia can be known by the world.
As it is many of the things Malaysia is wellknown for, may not be that complimentary although the "cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang' battlecry has now dissipated.


rambomadonna said...

what is Malaysia's no. 1 product?

I love this question because I have notice for the last 10 years, Malaysia is going backward. One reason I may say is the current leadership focus on establishing themselves politically rather than fueling the economic growth.

During the era of Tun Mahathir, we do faced some political challenges but Malaysia was also ahead of other negara serantau economically.

I don't say that Malaysia is great but or leadership of that time berjaya lah camouflage our "kekurangan" in term of natural resources as compared to Indonesia and Thailand with manufacturing and services.

I also don't say Tun Mahathir a great (sorry Tun) leader. If you asked me, he fail in succession plan. Great nations and dynasty became GREAT and KNOWN in history not only because of ONE leader but many leaders.

Err ... our current PM is not my favourite candidate (sorry Dato Seri) but I am obligated to cover all this weakness by making sure his Cabinet member achieve their NKRA.

I think too much oredi lah Norzah ... why u always make think too hard hehehe

norzah said...

I share your view about Dr Mahathir and the current PM, J, but am reminded of what one Japanese philosopher (can't remember who) said: the manager of a company doesn't need to be a very clever man but he must be able to recognize talent and tap the best talent to do the right job. The greatest weakness of a leader is when he prizes friendship or kinship over talent, chooses acquaintance for an important job rather than ability, and trusts the wrong person. Both
Dr M and Najib, and many Ministers are guilty of this to a certain extent.

Result: more huhahs than real work, the workhorses get the blame the blueyeyed boys (or girls) get the kudos.End result: much ado about nothing.

U thinking hard again? Only thinking on low gear is hard and heavygoing, go into fourth or fifth and the car will just fly. Sooriii if I cause a strain, hehe.

rambomadonna said...

Hahaha ... Norzah, your topics are normally based on fact findings and in-depth analysis on current issues. To participate in the discussion means I have to think like a philosopher or "berangan" lah kejap jadi KSU or PM hehehe so for me to move from gear 1 to 3, my brain has to work extra hard to balance the clutch and the minyak, or else enjin mati hehehe ...

Anyway, lets look on another perspective. When out of the blue you are ask to lead a country, the first person that you will seek is the one that you trust most - the person whom you are confident will support and not betray you. As such, talent will be secondary.

But if politics are played like a game rather than war, I believe the people will definitely benefit from esprit the corp and team spirit. Lupakan segala perbezaan and work as a team.

Hmm ... bukan senang pun nak start satu team pun.