By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 21: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has promised to allocate RM5 million to fund scientific research by Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (Tropi).
He made the promise after hearing that RM3 million research funding that was supposed to come from the federal government was terminated.
Acknowledging the contributions of Tropi in converting wasteland into agriculture land as well as its excellent research work, Abang Johari also promised to give funding for the the publishing of all research papers of Tropi scientists.
“Tonight, I will give you the budget for you to produce your academic as well as scientific research as a book and sell it throughout the world, so that they can see Sarawak’s research on peat soil,” said Abang Johari during at Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Laboratory 10th Anniversary held at the Laboratory site here last night.
He said research on peat soil has shown that research can turn large tracts of land that is useless to the economy into a big industry.
“I believe we can do the same in other sectors, the dwindling timber industry in particular. Some companies have already done quite extensive research in producing fast-growing tropical timber integrated into the oil palm industry.
“There are some encouraging results but more research needs to be done to enable us to develop what I called industrial Forest in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari.
He praised Tropi for its outstanding research work so much so that even neighbouring countries like Indonesia recognised that Sarawak through Tropi has played a crucial role in ensuring the higher production of oil palm on tropical peatland.
Citing his recent study trips to Canada and Finland, he said research and development is crucial in propelling industrial growth.
He called on Tropi to expand its research topics to venture into other crops and commercial ommodities.
“Hopefully, Tropi can be expanded, that it not only does research on palm oil and related commodities but also other commodities that have commercial value,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily