MESEJ (Mini Estet Sejahtera) Project
MESEJ (Mini Estet Sejahtera) Project is a State government initiative to address pockets of poverty in prevalent areas in Sabah. It is structured by the State Ministry, and was originally the idea of the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Hj Aman to bring spin-off of Sabah’s development will be to combat the prevailing poverty in Sabah. The MESEJ Project started in 2004 as a 300 hectare project for the hardcore poor in Sungai Laba, Sebatik Island in Tawau.
The Ministry of Rural Development (Kementerian Pembangunan Luar Bandar or KPLB) is the agency mandated to manage the MESEJ programmes, in 2007 since the SLDB possessed long-term experiences rural agricultural development, KPLB officially commissioned SLDB as the executing agency to implement the project.
The Sabah Land Development Board's role is to provide technical support to establish and manage the mini-oil palm estates for the KPLB, and will receive a management fee of 5 percent for the total project expenses. MESEJ is handled by the Trust Account or “Akaun Amanah” unit established by the State government.
There are currently twenty-nine oil palm, and rubber MESEJ projects around Sabah, six aquacultures, seven micro-agriculture/aquaculture projects, and two integrated projects have been implemented. Of this number, twelve MESEJ programmes, and six micro-MESEJ programmes have been fully completed. Four new MESEJ projects were started in 2013. The MESEJ projects are expected to involve more than 2000 hardcore poor around Sabah. In 2009 some of the mini-oil palm estates managed by the SLDB on the Sebatik Island have started to yield, and are currently earning dividends from the yield harvest. The participants in the programme may also earn a salary if they chose to work in the mini-estate.