KOTA KINABALU, The number of heads of household (KIR) in the hardcore poor category in Sabah dropped by 42 per cent to only 13,179 as recorded last month compared to 22,510 in September last year, said Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin. He said it resulted from the efforts carried out on KIR data cleansing, matching aid or interventions involving state statutory bodies, local authorities and government-linked companies, and collaborations with industry players. 'Besides existing poverty eradication programmes, the state government works with district offices, local authorities, government-linked companies and industry players to implement programmes to end hardcore poverty. 'The state government is indeed committed to eradicating poverty efforts, particularly in ending hardcore poverty in Sabah,' he said in his policy speech at the opening of the Fifth Session of the 16th State Legislative Assembly here today. He said the hardcore poverty eradication initiative is being implemented in pha ses involving short-term, medium-term and long-term programmes covering five main pillars for matching aid or appropriate interventions for hardcore poor individuals namely employment, entrepreneurship, housing, education and welfare. Meanwhile, Tun Juhar said efforts to provide access to broadband internet to communities in remote and rural areas in the state via VSAT Starlink in 26 districts have produced encouraging results. He said 100Mbps VSAT Starlink units have been installed in 219 locations, benefitting 60,328 relevant communities, adding that the state government is aiming to install the system in 300 locations by June this year to bridge the digital gap in those communities. On initiatives to enhance infrastructure, Tun Juhar said 18 projects will be carried out to resolve the water supply issues in Kota Kinabalu and Putatan this year, demonstrating the state government's determination to tackle problems faced by the people. 'The government is also striving to reduce Non-Revenue Water rates by resolving the illegal connections through enforcement and management of NRW reduction efforts,' he said. The Sabah government is also providing sustainable infrastructure, utilities and communication networks to support key sectors while enhancing living standards, he said, adding that priority is given to intensifying the connectivity of road networks across the state. 'This is primarily through the Pan Borneo Highway project. Out of 35 work packages, four work packages covering 41.7 km have been completed. Fifteen work packages are underway, with two expected to be completed this year and the rest next year. 'Meanwhile, the remaining 16 work packages are in the tender process and construction works to start this year. Focus will be given to strengthening management of infrastructure projects in the state to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness,' he added. Source: BERNAMA News Agency