KOTA KINABALU, Sept 30 — Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said today he hopes that the government will include comprehensive solutions to food security issues plaguing the country in next year’s budget.
The Semporna MP said he hoped that the national leadership fully understood and alleviated the people’s concerns about the rising cost of living and food in the country.
“Food security is not only about the price but also the supply of food products such as rice, meat and so on,” he said at a press conference after chairing the party’s Supreme Council meeting at its headquarters in Kolombong here.
“The government should have a comprehensive plan. This has been an issue for a long time now but unfortunately, there has been no implementation of a plan.”
Citing Sabah’s “rice bowl” district of Kota Belud as an example, he said “hundreds of millions of ringgit” were given out for agriculture purposes but there have been no significant results in regards to rice planting, rice species, and how farmers can maximise yield with three crops a year.
Shafie said that he had recognised the problem during his administration and already identified land that was suitable for rice cultivation, whether padi rice or hill rice.
“I still remember during Warisan’s time. So our government identified 4,046 hectares in Terusan Sapi (Beluran) of land that is suitable for rice cultivation. In addition, we also encourage hill rice cultivation and we provide RM5 million to encourage farming areas in Keningau, Long Pasia suitable for hill rice cultivation.
“The idea was to have an adequate supply of rice and so we can control the price of rice,” he said.
He reiterated the importance of tackling such basic issues that impacted the people on a daily basis.
Budget 2024 is set to be tabled on October 13. It will be the second budget under the unity government following the retabling of Budget 2023 on February 24 this year.