Wednesday, 3 October 2012

No Food Security In Sabah?

SABAH DAP Vice Chairman, Edward Ewol Mujie viewed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when presenting the Budget 2013 last Friday that four new paddy granaries will be developed and expanded in Kota Belud (sabah), Balang Lupar (Sarawak), Rompin and Pekan (Pahang) with an allocation of RM140 million.

He has however did not taken into account the real need in Sabah, and this is very perplexing as Kota Belud has implemented this project a few years backs, but sorry to say that it did not produce the anticipated result. What is the increase in the rice production?
In Sabah there are lots of other districts that has vast areas of abandons paddy fields and land suitable for paddy planting such as Papar, Tuaran, Terusan Sapi, Kota Marudu and Kuala Penyu, and why can’t this new project of paddy granaries be implemented in these districts.

These paddy fields have been producing few thousands metric tons of paddy for decades, but due to many reasons like the lack of good drainage and irrigation system, these paddy fields have been abandoned and left lying idles for many years. So it is high time that the Government should take the necessary steps to re-develop them through this incentive scheme as announced by the Prime Minister.

But sadly Edward said this is not the case but Kota Belud again has been chosen to implement this project. However he said he would like to know whether the paddy granaries project that has been implemented earlier in Kota Belud has been completed and whether the paddy production so far increased.

In Sabah, we import RM1.0 billion of rice and that is equal to 70% (205,000 tonnes) of our rice requirements in Sabah. It is absolutely a total failure on the part of the government for not really emphasizing on achieving the simple task of producing enough rice in the state.

In real fact, during the past 5 decades, the government had failed miserablly, and the amount used to develop the rice planting is marginal. What can the RM140 million do, while Sabah might be getting a small share only. We actually need much more than RM240 million to speed up the rice production and to secure food security in rice. Just imagine if the import and supply of rice to Sabah is cut, how can we feed the 3.4 million population? Are we going back to eat tapioca?

The government is not seen to be solving the most basic and fundamental requirements of food supply. If we had done that many decades ago, we should be having enough food by now, even more for export to West Malaysia.

-Sabahkini

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