By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Dec 22: The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry (MPIC) is looking to collaborate with big plantation companies by opening up plantation estates to attract youths to be involved in plantation.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Willie Mongin said one of the initiatives to encourage more youths to venture into plantation and agriculture is to seek big corporations to hire them.
“We have discussed at ministry level on how to attract more youths to be involved in plantations and especially in downstream industries.
“Maybe, we will seek big corporations to open up plantation estates and the youth can work for them,” he told reporters during a press conference after presenting Excellence Service Awards and Loyalty Service Awards to Malaysian Pepper Board’s (MPB) staff and the appointment letter to new MPB director-general Philip Gaweng at a hotel here today.
Willie was responding to a question on the labour shortage issue in the pepper industries in Sarawak.
He noted the labour shortage issue is not just confined to the pepper industry but also the plantation and agriculture industries throughout Malaysia.
Willie admitted that the plantation and agriculture industries have ageing farmers and in need of young bloods to revitalise the industries whilst there is no exact formula or an effective strategy to solve the labour shortage issues facing the plantation and agriculture industries.
He noted most of the youths nowadays were not interested to participate in the plantation and agriculture sectors and they required incentives from the government to entice them to be involved.
On another note, Willie who is Puncak Borneo MP said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is a government which practices fairness and merits to all the community.
He said the appointment of Philip Gaweng as the new director-general of MPB who is a Sarawakian with more than 39 years of experience in the pepper industry was a testament shown by PN.
Willie explained that MPIC had discussed the candidates for the new director-general of MPB before deciding to appoint Philip who has vast experience and an internal candidate of MPB to head that role.
He believed MPB would chart greater heights under the leadership of Philip.
The appointment of Philip as the new MPB director-general was effective December 1. He replaced Stanley Liew who was the director-general of MPB for the last 18 months.
Meanwhile, 16 MPB staff received the Loyalty Service Award while 25 others received the Excellence Service Award for their outstanding performance in 2019 at the award presentation held in a hotel here.
Among those who present at the function were Sarawak Agriculture Department’s director Dr Alvin Chai who is also a board member of MPB MPB board member Baka Riden and National Kenaf and Tobacco Board’s member Paul Akiu Bandat. — DayakDaily