Thursday, 23 April 2009

Paddy Planters not given enough assistance by government

The paddy planters in Sabah are not given enough government assistance in terms of pricing, subsidies, and infrastructure development. This is the main cause for the drop in the production of rice in the state. The paddy planters refused to plant because of the small profit margin, coupling with the lack of good infrastructure. They are in deep hardship.

The Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament Dr. Hiew King Cheu was at hand to explore into the various problems affecting this compulsory food production. He had been following the various stages of negotiation and meeting between the Paddy planters association (Padikom) and the Federal / State Ministry of Agriculture.

The Assistant Chief Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dato’ Br. Baharom Jani said the problem on the drainage, irrigation, roads, and other infrastructures needed immediate attention by the Sabah government. They are very slow to implement all the projects funded by the Federal Government. There was a RM 75 millions allocation for drainage projects announced last July and released to the Sabah government in September, but very unfortunately the tender process for the work had not even been carried out until November. In many areas, the drains are still mud drains, these should be concrete drains by now. This is not the fault of the Federal Ministry because the State level is not doing their job. Therefore the state government will have to speed up with all their work to improve the same.

Dr. Hiew had asked in Parliament on the allocation provided for Sabah to develop the paddy planting for the year 2009 to 2013, and whether the funding is only for the small planters or the bigger companies are included. The written reply from the Minister of Agriculture is as follows:-
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
(1) for commercial paddy planter in Kota Belud 5.0 7.5 55.5 55.5 55.5
(estimated in million ringgit)

(2) To guarantee food production - rice 174.5 169.0 - - -

(3) to upgrade abundant paddy field 3.0 3.0 - - -

Under the ‘Guarantee food production policy’, Sabah is given a sum of RM 174.50 million for the year 2009 and RM 169.00 million for 2010. This is for the development of infrastructure, irrigation, leveling of fields, and other related items like fertilizers and insecticide. This is applicable for the all small and big commercialized paddy planters.

With the financial backing from the Federal, Dr. Hiew wants the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman to be held responsible for the slow, neglected, ineffective, and inefficient administration and execution of the work related to the paddy production in Sabah. The reason is very clear as mentioned from the figures and facts provided. We have the resources, money, and land, but why are we still importing up to 95% (220,000 ton) of our rice requirement, a total staggering figure of RM 770 million. For so many years, Sabah had not improved on its own rice production but turns to depend solely on imported rice. There is so much talk on achieving self - sufficiency and opening up some 11,000 hectares of new paddy field this year. Is it possible, based on the present performance of the state government? The answer is definitely “NO”!

Dr. Hiew wants the Sabah government to let out for free all the available state land that is suitable for planting paddy to capable planters with experience, capability and financial back ground. This is a way of productivity, when compared to leaving the land to grow wild grass and left idling for years. The Federal government can always assist to provide the necessary supporting infrastructure and irrigation work, in terms of allocation of money. We should make full use of the situation to produce more rice. Vietnam can export rice after the long war and destruction, why can’t Sabah?

Dr. Hiew King Cheu, KK MP

政府无论在价目,津贴和基础设施的发展都没有给予沙巴州的稻农足够援助和关注。 这就是稻米生产下降的主要原因。 稻农们不热衷耕种是因为利润很低及缺乏良好的基础设施。 他们一直在面对许多的困难。

亚庇国会议员邱庆洲博士一直有跟进及研讨有关影响该稻米生产的各种问题。他也曾参与稻农协会( Padikom )和中央及州农业部在各阶段的商讨和会议。

联邦农业部副秘书长,拿督巴哈鲁贾尼说,沙巴州政府须要立即关注排水系统,水利灌溉,道路和其他基础设施的问题。 纵然联邦政府已经拨款资助他们,但是州方面的执行工作却非常缓慢。 在去年七月中已经批准了马币七千五百万的排水系统工程的拨款,并且在去年九月已转交给沙巴州政府,但非常不幸的是,该招标程序却延迟到十一月才进行。 目前有许多地区仍然是以泥渠排水,其实现在这些应该是三合土排水渠。 这不是联邦的问题而是州政府没有做到他们的工作。 因此,州政府应该即刻努力改善目前稻农所面对的困境。

邱博士在国会提问有关从二零零九年至二零一三年将分配给沙巴州发展稻米种植的拨款金额,该金额是否会分配给小型稻农或是大型种稻企业。 农业部长的书面回答如下:-

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 (一)古打毛律(Kota Belud)商业稻农的资助 5.0 7.5 55.5 55.5 55.5
(二)保证粮食生产计划 - 稻米 174.5 169.0 - - -
(三 )提升荒弃的稻田 3.0 3.0 - - -

根据‘粮食生产保证的政策’,沙巴州在二零零九年将会得到的拨款是一亿七千四百五十万马币,而在二零一零年则是一亿六千九百万马币。 这笔拨款是用于发展基础设施,灌溉,提升稻田及其他相关的设施,如肥料和杀虫剂。这是适用于所有小型和大型商业稻米种植。

联邦政府已经在钱财上大力的支持,因此邱博士要沙巴州首席部长拿督慕沙阿曼对处理有关稻米工作的缓慢,忽视,没有实效和行政效率低负上责任。 从上述的确实的数字和书面回答中看到,我们拥有充足的资源,金钱和土地,但是为什么我们仍然要进口高达95 %(二十二万吨)估计约值七亿七千万马币的进口米。 这么多年,沙巴州的稻米生产并没有任何的改善,反而完全依赖进口米。 政府如此多次的空谈说要‘自给自足’,及刚在州议会中宣布今年将开启一万公顷的新稻田。 这有可能办得到吗? 根据目前州政府执政的状态看来,答案当然是‘绝对不可能’!

邱博士希望沙巴州政府能够提供免费适合种植稻米的土地,分派给有足够种植经验,能力和财力的稻农进行耕种。政府应该将荒废及空置着的土地,转变成为有价值及高生产率的肥田。 联邦政府相信可以协助及提供拨款以提升必要的基础设施和灌溉工程。 我们要充分利用政府所给的资助,生产更多的稻米。 越南经过漫长的战争和高度破坏仍然能够出口白米,为什么沙巴州不能?