Minister proposes joint committee to help develop Sarawak’s agriculture sector

Abang Johari presents a souvenir to Salahuddin (left) as Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas (right) looks on.

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KUCHING, July 6: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry will form a joint committee comprising members from the ministry and the Sarawak Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development to curb bureaucracy in the agriculture sector.

Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Salahuddin Ayub said this was to assist Sarawak, with its massive land mass, to become the country’s agricultural backbone and the nation’s food security.

“I see (agricultural) potential in the vast land mass of Sarawak, which is almost as big as Semenanjung. We were discussing about paddy fields, livestock farming and development of other cash crops. Both sides (federal and state) have agreed to set up a joint committee.

“I hope with this committee, no more bureaucracy problems, (there will be) no more obstructions that would hinder our (federal and state governments) good relationship,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex this afternoon.

Salahuddin also gave assurance that this proposed committee would also look into the smooth delivery of incentives, assistance, expertise and negotiations of agriculture and agro-based efforts by the government to the farmers or rakyat.

“I want Sarawak to become the destination for modern farming and contribute to the agriculture sector for Malaysia,” he said.

Asked on the needs of Malaysia from its agriculture sector and expectations for Sarawak, Salahuddin said currently the country was still importing most of its agricultural products, especially beef. Thus he hoped Sarawak would become the country’s cattle farming hub due to its massive landmass.

On the same note, Salahuddin said the committee would also look into the state’s fishery sector, particularly its difficulties in obtaining deep sea fishing licences by fishermen in the state.

He said the committee would formulate a solution to deal with the issue quickly because it had been ongoing for quite a while.

“Through the committee, we will deal with all pending issues within these (agriculture) sectors. We will hasten the solution so that we can quickly move forward to develop Sarawak,” said Salahuddin. — DayakDaily