In essence, rural development is a process and is very much outcome based. It is a process of deliberate induced change led by the state and is multidisciplinary and the outcome is for the betterment of the rural population, for example, improved quality of life, increased income and productivity, reduced poverty, better infrastructure, health, education etc. In 1970 the rural population accounts for about 73 % of total population and steadily declined to 38% in 2000, 25.7 % in 2015 and is anticipated to decline further to 22.8 % in 2020 and 20.4 % 9n 2025. Average gross monthly household income of the rural population is less than half of the urban population. The continued decline of the rural population has given rise to issues of out-migration, aging, shortage of labour, social problems especially drug abuse, land fragmentation, lack of employment amongst youth, dependency on government etc. For example, out-migration among the youth especially between the ages of 20-29, in the rural areas is high, about 36.6%. Although poverty has declined significantly since 1970, however, the incidence of poverty is still common in the rural areas and is expected to continue. He also cited the various rural development strategies and programmes introduced in Malaysia since the 1960s. Prof. Dr. Ibrahim concluded his presentation by disclosing some of the challenges that will confront the rural areas and society. The Department was also privileged to have Mr. Tang Liang Hong, a retired lawyer and a “senior” postgraduate student of the Faculty, speak and reflect upon the global challenges that Malaysia will indisputably have to face. He made reference to the “new opportunities and new future” that is likely to be brought about by “the new silk road” specifically and to call to mind if Malaysia and the rural communities are ready to exploit the new opportunities and future for the betterment of the rural areas and the country.
The seminar was held on 12th March 2015 (Thursday) at Seminar Room, Level 3 B03, Faculty of Built Environment and was attended by students and faculty.