Kelantan’s lost one generation
KOTA BARU, March 19 - The number of Kelantanese working outside the state is equivalent to the estimated population residing in the state, says Kelantan Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin.
He said that the state had lost one generation of working adults who had been forced to seek their fortune elsewhere, given that Kelantan’s economy has been in the doldrums since 1990.
The latest census puts Kelantan's population base at an estimated 1.5 million – excluding non-resident migrant workers.
“There is nothing political about it. These are economic facts. A large population base with limited job prospects will result in a strong outbound migration. We have to accept it,” Dr Awang Adek said after closing a seminar on the origins of Peranakan Cina Kelantan here.
The seminar was organised by the state tourism action council to help foster greater understanding about the Kelantan-born Chinese.
Dr Awang Adek is worried that if more Kelantanese were to leave the state, its culture and heritage too would deteriorate as those who migrate usually return only for family reunions or weddings.
Many had also resettled in the peninsula's growth centres of Penang, Selangor and Johor, to such an extent that such states had established Kelantanese settlement corners, he said.
While acknowledging the draw of better income prospects, Dr Awang Adek said: “We must at least retain sufficient numbers to maintain the state’s strong identity and culture.”
Dr Awang Adek said that to overcome this Kelantanese should consider giving Barisan Nasional a chance to govern the state so that its economic status could be improved.
“A state ruled by the Opposition must accept the consequences that it would be left out of the mainstream development pace.”
Later at Bachok, Dr Awang Adek presented offer letters to 80 Class F contractors who would undertake projects worth RM3.76mil here this year under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. theStarOnline