Pulau Banggi located within the Kudat Division of Sabah state in Malaysia with an area of 440.7km2 (compare to Penang Island of 293km2 and Singapore of 723.2km2), thus making it the largest island in Malaysia followed by Betruit Island and Langkawi Island come third. The island located off the northern coast of Sabah, near Marudu Bay. The population is small relatively (less than 15,000) and the majority of the people on the island is from the Ubian ethnic group followed by the Dusun Banggi, Kegayan, Suluk and Bajau. Previously the island dwellers were dependent on fishing and subsistence farming but now they are making a transition into rubber cultivation and working with Felcra Bhd, the agency entrusted with the first agropolitan project on the island.
Today, the only access to this island is by boat through Kudat or Teluk Marudu which takes about one hour ten minutes (depends on the boat speed). Though the population is small, but they have the basic necessity of a school, health clinic, government administrative office and a police station. However, the villages are far apart and is almost impossible to have good access between the villages.
The Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) saw this and had initiated construction of tarred road scheme, provision of clean water and solar hybrid system to generate electricity. Today a network of 36km of pipes provide clean water to eight villages on the island. The first phase of the Pulau Banggi Agropolitan Project launched in 2007 to eradicate hardcore poverty has been completed. The initial phase covers 700 hectares of rubber plantation while the second phase involves 1,100 hectares with 980 hectares already cleared for planting. Recently 100 heads of hardcore poor families in the island were offered homes under the local community housing project (PPMS).
In the recent years, KKLW is planning to provide another approximate 20km tarred road with the aim to connect Kampung Kapitangan and Kampung Dogoton. The scheme includes construction of road and several bridges crossing the rivers and swamps. Phase one of this project had been completed with a 1.8 km road and two steel composite bridge been constructed. In spite of this, KKLW found a new solution and a better method to construct bridges in such isolated and difficult terrain and limited resources and accessibility.
A field trip to Pulau Banggi headed by KKLW Secretary Ir. Hj. Razani was held in 10th of July 2012, where various parties involved were briefed and shown the area and the project’s objective to make accesses easy for the locals of the island especially school children and fishermen of the two villages.