Rural population in Malaysia gradually dropping

Fun moment: Members of the ‘U2Desa’ programme with Ismail Sabri (back, centre) taking wefie shots after the event at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - The population of rural folk has decreased from 29.1 per cent in 2010 to 26.3 per cent in 2014, said Rural and Regional Develop­ment Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

"This shows that the migration rate from the rural areas to the cities has risen over the years, especially among the youths.

"This is a worrying trend for the Government as we plan to develop the rural areas under the Rural Transformation Plan, which aims to increase the household income to at least RM4,000 (S$1,292)per month by 2020," he said.

More and more youths are migrating to the cities in search of job opportunities.

To attract and encourage them to continue staying in their hometowns or move back home, the ministry has launched Program Usahawan Belia Pengajian Tinggi Balik Kampung, also known as "U2Desa".

It was launched by Ismail Sabri at Universiti Malaya yesterday.

Through this initiative, the ministry aims to create and strengthen the synergy between the young generation and rural folk via entrepreneurial activities.

"The involvement and commitment of the youth in developing the country, especially in rural areas, is important for generating new ideas, creativity and innovation in the face of globalisation," he added.

The programme will see 2,664 university students from Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Malaya coming up with business plans to increase the economic growth of 400 selected rural areas by tapping into natural resources and human capital.

The winning projects will be given RM10,000 in seed funding per group by the ministry, from the initial fund of RM3mil.