Dr Rundi ‘allergic’ to government subsidies, favours output incentives

Dr Rundi (second left) and Edwin (third right) visiting an exhibition booth at the Mardi Agroinvest 2022 programme today (June 24, 2022).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, June 24: Compared to the good old government subsidies, Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom prefers to give output incentives.

He said output incentives are based on performance, thus serving as a better motivation for local producers, including farmers and fishermen, to increase productivity.

“The more you produce, the more assistance you get. So that will motivate people to produce more. If we continue to do subsidies, which I’m quite allergic to, it will not move us forward,” he said.

In response to the recent lift of government subsidy on bottled cooking oil, Dr Rundi merely said the “timing is probably not that right”.

He added that decisions to forego policies such as subsidies must be reviewed first.

In terms of government assistance, he said provisions must be based on people’s real needs, even if it means giving diverse but targeted help to one community.

“There was one village which we thought needed pepper fertilisers, but actually, not all of them were planting pepper. So, if you give all of them fertilisers for pepper, the fertilisers will only be kept under their houses.

“(We must) get the villagers to tell us what they need. Maybe out of the total, 80 per cent need that, but not the other 20 per cent. So then, you must give the 20 per cent something else,” he told the press after officiating at the Mardi Agroinvest 2022 programme at a local hotel here today.

Among those also present were Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institution (Mardi) head director Dato Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani and Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development permanent secretary Datu Edwin Abit. — DayakDaily