Papar woman’s products also marketed in city
After 20 years of hard work, Dayang Itam Yusof has a good reason to smile. The 55-year-old woman now owns a small factory near her house in Kampung Laut here, and her cookies business is picking up. “Although it is just a small family business, it helps us earn our living,” she said when attending to her customers. Dayang Itam said over 10 people in her village have also ventured into the same business, thanks to assistance from the Government. Asked to give her view on Sabah Development Corridor, she admitted not knowing exactly how it will benefit her, but she is confident that whatever the Government’s incentives are, it would bring good to many business people like her. She started her humble business by sewing dresses for brides-to-be and later ventured into selling of cakes and cookies. “When I was told of the Government’s incentives, I quickly grabbed the opportunity and applied for assistance to enable me to purchase machines to expand my business ... today, my cakes are even sold in the State Capital,” she said. “I believe SDC is a good plan by the Government and hope that it would not overlook small business people like me,” she said, adding that if given the right guidance, the small and medium enterprises would also be able to contribute towards the State’s economic growth. Another villager, Joy Francis, said that it is about time that SDC is launched to help improve the economy not just in the urban but rural areas as well. The 24-year- old from Kampung Sabandil, some five kilometres from here, hoped the authorities concerned would meet the people to further explain the SDC policies and objectives. “I came here to learn about SDC and how it can benefit me and my family. There have been many exposures done but I hope to learn more so that I could also play my role to ensure the project’s objectives are met,” he said. SDC is a definitive development project undertaken by the Government to fully eradicate poverty in the State by 2025, and according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, it is not an unrealistic programme as the Government would ensure the successful implementation of the project to benefit the people from all walks of life. Stressing this in his speech during the official launch of the 18- year development plan at Sepanggar Bay container port near here on Jan 29 this year, Abdullah said SDC would stress on the people’s welfare, whereby no race or group would be left out of mainstream development. SDC is the fourth economic corridor to be launched after the Iskandar Development Region, Northern Corridor Economic Region and East Coast Economic Region. He said SDC, which begins this year, would see the development of Sabah based on five main aspects, which are: •Sabah as a major entry point in the region for trade, investment and tourism; •Sabah as a harmonious and peaceful state regardless of race or religion; •Sabah as a technology-savvy state in all aspects of life which will ensure a higher quality of life; •Sabah as a rich state with employment opportunities for all; •Sabah as a comfortable state to reside with a high standard of living together with cultural diversity, heritage and environment. “We will witness a significant transformation if we can successfully build up the five aspects. The implementation of SDC would be a facelift for Sabah,” Abdullah said. By the year 2025, it is expected that Sabah’s economy would develop rapidly and that the State’s Gross Domestic Product is expected to increase four-fold to RM63.2 billion.