Special committee on agriculture land approved by Sarawak — Salahuddin

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KUCHING (May 27): A special committee will be formed to coordinate matters related to land approved by the Sarawak Government for the Federal Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry for cultivation.

Its Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said the special committee, to be jointly set up with the Sarawak Agriculture Modernisation, Customary Land and Regional Development Ministry, was initiated after the State Government approved 2,000 hectares for phase one in Lingga, Sri Aman for development by the Federal Government.

“I was told just now officially that Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin had discussed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and had written a letter to the Chief Minister to apply for some land for cultivation with various crops.

“The Sarawak Government is prepared to cooperate with any party because this is its effort to introduce cash crops to replace oil palm,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.

Salahuddin said this to deny his statement in Johor Bahru yesterday that the Sarawak government would hand over to the federal government 600,000 hectares of land which was not replanted with oil palm.

Among other things, the special committee would decide on the type of crops and the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) would determine the suitability of land to be developed soon, he said.

Later, when visiting the Medan Niaga Satok Ramadan Bazaar here, Salahuddin said the Ministry gave opportunities to traders to market agricultural food products produced by farmers throughout the country, especially in Sarawak.

“Such markets can be upgraded in the future and this is an opportunity for the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) to continue educating traders and make these premises a launching pad for them to move forward,” he told reporters.

Salahuddin mingled with traders and visitors at the bazaar and also distributed bubur pedas to them for breaking of fast.