On 18th December 2018, the Ministry of Rural Development launched Desa Harapan or Village of Hope program at Kampung Kinjang, Chenderiang. Many wouldn’t know the existence of this village, but familiar with the towering sight of Lata Kinjang waterfall when passing by Tapah via the North South Expressway. The selection of Kampung Kinjang, out of the 17,000 village in Malaysia as the pioneer of Desa Harapan is something exceptional.
But before we go into the details, the launching of Desa Harapan program is very related to the Ministry’s Pelan Harapan that was launched in October this year. Desa Harapan program will be the symbiosis between all the pillars, namely the economic, human capital, entrepreneurism, delivery mechanism, women and facilities. The underlying principles of Pelan Harapan is to bring equal development and growth to the rural areas, by strengthening the economic capabilities and opening more job opportunities for youth. With the participation of private sectors, Desa Harapan will become the catalyst for a holistic economic growth in the rural area. It is expected that once more jobs are created in the rural areas, youth will no longer leave to seek employment in the cities but will grab the opportunities of the economic growth in the rural area itself. The participation of private sectors as strategic partners will become one of the key enabler to move this plan.
In her speech, Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun has shared her aspiration for Desa Harapan as a collaboration between the private sectors and the government. It focuses on the Public, Private People Partnership (4P) which is an important agenda during ASEAN Ministers Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication. According to YB Rina, there are 7.8million people lives in the rural area, including 2.6million youth. There is a need to shift the focus to develop this part of the country. Together with strategic private partners, selected villages will be ‘adopted’ to undergone series of development plans.
With 17,000 villages in Malaysia, the selection criteria to become Desa Harapan lies with the readiness and the commitment of the leaders and villagers to the activities planned with the private sectors. The focus village will have ongoing local economic activity that has potential for further development. Ideally it would have a multitude or diversity in terms of villager’s background for a holistic development.
For private sectors, the Desa Harapan program will be a magnification of what was CSR program before. With support system from the Ministry, private sectors can now do it at a much systematic way. The selection criteria are based on the commitment in terms of manpower, capital and also the willingness to share expertise with the targeted group. So far, there’s 25 private sectors already on board with the Desa Harapan program. The program will be developed as incubator program, encompassing 8 scopes such as rural industries, environment and green technology, spiritual and education, safety and health, sports and cultural, information technology and communication.
In the story of Kampung Kinjang, the potential for eco-tourism and commercialization of rural produce is among the things that tops this place from the rest. Kampung Kinjang is within the proximity of Lata Kinjang, the highest waterfall in South East Asia. This famous attraction can be exploited to spur the growth of supporting industry, for example homestays and chalet, crafts from the Orang Asli of Lata Kinjang village and also logistics arrangement.
For the private sectors that has pledged to become the strategic partners for Kampung Kinjang are Berjaya Corporations, Celcom Axiata, Hume Cemboard Industries and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). During the launching, villagers and officers from Hume Cemboard has worked together to build a new kindergarten or Tadika KEMAS to replace the 20-year-old building. The technology used is integrated building system (IBS) which proves to be faster and more efficient. This is an example of an outreach program that can benefit both parties with the exposure of new building technology. Celcom Axiata, another strategic partner for Kampung Kinjang will be helping with business skills training for on-line product promotion. UniKL will be doing business coaching and entrepreneurial program with the identified youth from Kampung Kinjang. UniKL has also donated 140 durian trees to start up an eco-tourism project at Kampung Kinjang. Berjaya Corporation will be doing a recycling project, targeting to increase environmental awareness and waste management. The proceeds from recycle produce will be returned to the villagers.
YB Rina has shared that the selected village for Desa Harapan will be supervised by a committee comprising of the ministry’s officers, private sectors, state government and the village’s rep. The requirement or need for each village may vary and not all development scope will be the same. Desa Harapan program is targeting more villages within its 2 years inception period. The success of the incubator programs at each village will be the benchmark to enrol on larger scale in the future.
With the launching of Desa Harapan at Kampung Kinjang, Chenderiang, it marks a new era of holistic progression in the rural area. With the aim of poverty eradication and to strengthen the rural economy, may the story of Kampung Kinjang become a new success story that is lasting and inspiring.