Their English Language equivalent is CDO or Community Development Officer and, hence, would now be referred to as Community Development Leaders (CDLs). The date when this would take effect officially would be announced by the unit's new Director Datuk Japlin Akim.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who announced this, said the time has come for the unit to have a re-branding especially a name-change which he hoped would boost its working spirit and commitment.
"We see this is appropriate in view of the current changes and challengesÉthis is so that the unit would be more proactive, responsive and even closer to the people," he said, when addressing the UPKR grand assembly held at Menara Tun Mustapha, Thursday.
Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said the PPM is very important to the government because they serve as the vital link between the leaders and rakyat and urged all PPM to continue being trustworthy and dedicated to their job.
Urging the PPMs to not only keep themselves abreast with the latest information but also information and communication technology (ICT) to enable them to be more efficient and effective, he said this is very important in line with the ever changing environment and situation as well as challenges.
Musa is also confident that Japlin would be capable of leading the unit to higher levels.
"What is most important is that the PPM's roles and functions to deliver information relating to the implementation of government policies and programmes to the grassroots level so the rakyat would fully understand what had been done, currently implemented and that would be implemented by the government," he said.
"The Barisan Nasional (BN) Government has a lot of policies and programmes all of which are concentrated on how we can assist the rakyat improve their living conditionÉthis the rakyat must truly know and understand, so they will realise that the ruling BN is truly a responsible government," he added.
He said UPPM must regularly give explanation to the rakyat with the latest and true information to ensure the BN Government continue to be relevant in the hearts of the people.
Musa also want the elected representatives to have regular communication with the PPM for their respective constituency so they know what the rakyat wants and expects from them.
"I am aware that our elected representatives as leaders, especially those holding posts, are always busy and because of this we have the PPM to assist us. With regular communication with our respective PPM we would be able to know what are the rakyat's needs and aspiration and that they feel their interests are always safeguarded," he said.
When asked, Musa said the UPPM is also heading towards the direction where much younger people would be given the opportunity to shoulder great responsibility as PPM and other posts under the UPPM.
"Definitely, we really agree to young people being given this opportunity.
Because of that we are opening opportunities for our young people to serve under the UPPM and if any of them is found to be suitable definitely they will be appointed as PPM," he said.
Earlier in his speech, Musa also said the younger generation should be one of the main focuses for PPM in providing factual information on government policies and programmes. And to do this, he said the PPM need to arm themselves with the latest and precise knowledge and ICT tools as they are dealing with a generation well versed in ICT.
"Because of this the PPM also need to be at par with our younger generation, including in terms of using the online social media," he said.
To another question on the PPM for constituencies presently under the opposition in the State, Musa said "that one we will do a study on it after the re-branding process has been fully completed."
Meanwhile, Musa also said the State Government would study the proposal made by Brunei which offered to export electricity to Sabah via Sipitang from a hydro power plant proposed to be built in partnership with the Sarawak government.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili had said that his Brunei counterpart Pehin Dato Dr Mohammad Yasmin Umar told him that he hoped to visit the Bakun hydroelectricity project in Sarawak soon and that the proposal would promote interconnectivity between Brunei and Sabah.
"We are neighbours and good friends and can work together a lot more including on Sabah-Brunei interconnection," said Mohammad.