PEKAN- The Pekan Agropolitan Project will not only transform this district to be the biggest hub for breeding dorper sheep in Southeast Asia, but also be able raise the income of its Orang Asli participants up to RM5,000 a month, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.
He said the project, which was launched in August 2008, to date had succeeded in generating fixed income for the Orang Asli community involved by between RM750 and RM1,200 a month.
"We project that in five years time, the Pekan Agropolitan Project in Runchang and Batu 8 here will be able to produce up to 25,000 heads of dorper sheep which will make Pekan the biggest hub for the livestock in Southeast Asia.
"Our hope is to see the income of the Orang Asli participants continue to rise and target in the near future they should be able to derive a monthly income that exceeds RM5,000," he said when officiating the "Pesisiran Warisan Pekan" project and East Coast Economic Region Development Council's dorper sheep livestock auction, here today.
According to him, attaining this level of income could be achieved owing to the dedication shown by the Orang Asli participants of the project, particularly their commitment to work schedules.
He said the commitment could be seen in first dorper sheep auction organised by ECERDC last year which generated RM265,000 from the sale of 465 dorper sheep.
"I hope this year we can get more sales compared to last year owing to the productivity of the participants," he said.
Meanwhile, Najib, who is also Member of Parliament for Pekan, said the "Pesisiran Warisan Pekan"( Pekan coastal heritage town project), when completed, would be able to attract some 700,000 local and foreign visitors by 2020.
He said the project entailed upgrading Jalan Sultan Ahmad and the Sultan Abu Bakar Museum, and building trading kiosks, a modern food court, a marketing and exhibition complex for the small and medium industry, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the museum with a mosque.
He said the infrastructure development would enable Pekan to host various events such as the Pekan People's Carnival, which could be turned into an annual affair to woo more travellers to Pahang and the town.
"All the projects are expected to increase tourist arrivals to Pekan to 700,000 a year in 2020 thereby creating about 935 new jobs.
"The temporary closure of the Abu Bakar Museum has caused tourist arrivals to the town to drop by 72 per cent, from 56,502 visitors in 2007 to 16,045 in 2009," he said.
According to him, the Pekan heritage coastal project was another ECERDC project in encouraging tourism activities in the district of Pekan which would benefit Pekan residents with the generation of new jobs and entrepreneurs apart from providing a recreational location for the residents there.
On that, Najib said the government had never broken its promises to the people but had always implemented orderly development in bringing about transformation for their betterment.
"Other groups merely make promises especially during election season but the government today is a government that turns vision into a reality.
"Vision can only become reality if the people continue to support the government of today whether at national or state level," he said.