Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak acknowledged the gaping socio-economic, development disparity between West Malaysia and East Malaysia when launching Government Transformation Programme (GTP) roadmap on Thursday.

The event was aired live by television channels including ASTRO channel 502.

Najib said despite Malaysia’s considerable achievements in the provision of rural basic infrastructure (RBI), more needs to be done to serve the rural population that constitutes 35 percent of Malaysians.

“In East Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah), there are many villages still not connected by roads and more than a quarter of households do not have access to electricity,” the Prime Minister said.

“Upwards of 40 percent in East Malaysia and 12 percent of households in Peninsular Malaysia lack access to clean or treated water.”

To reduce the gap of development between peninsular, Sarawak and Sabah Najib said government will embarked on a major rural basic infrastructure development programme.

“Government aspires to build more than 7,000km of new and upgraded roads by 2012, 1900km of these roads in Sabah and Sarawak.”

Najib said this will result in 91.4 percent of west Malaysians will be living within five km of a paved road by 2010 and rising to 100 percent in 2012.

The government also plan to provide 50,000 new and restored houses to the rural poor and hardcore poor by 2012, two-thirds of these in Sabah and Sarawak.

Access to clean and treated water in Sarawak will be raised from current 57 to 59 percent by the end of 2010.

According to Najib in order to meet the targets, government will accelerate the pace of deployment of these basic services over what has been achieved in the past.