Min­is­ter does not want the ‘Malays only’ per­cep­tion to con­tinue

New Straits Times - - NEWS / NATION - BADRUL KA­MAL ZAKARIA MUAR news@nst.com.my

THE Agri­cul­ture and Agro-Based In­dus­try Min­istry wants to change the per­cep­tion that it is for Malays only. Its min­is­ter, Salahud­din Ayub, said the min­istry wanted to have the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all races in the var­i­ous sec­tors un­der its purview.

“I don’t want the per­cep­tion to con­tinue. I will work hard to give my ser­vice to every­body, in­clud­ing other races. Let them view the min­istry as a min­istry for all Malaysians,” he said af­ter at­tend­ing a gath­er­ing and re­ceiv­ing Parti Amanah Ne­gara mem­ber­ship ap­pli­ca­tion forms from 150 mem­bers of the Chi­nese com­mu­nity in Ta­man Seri Kasih here on Thurs­day.

“In the ru­ral ar­eas, there are many Malays in the farm­ing and fish­ery sec­tors. But there are also many non-Malays in other agri­cul­tural sec­tors, like fruit and veg­etable farm­ing, live­stock farm­ing, deep-sea fish­ing and the bird’s nest in­dus­try.

“These in­dus­tries are dom­i­nated by non-Malays. We have to be smart and turn them into as­sets or stake­hold­ers that can be­come the main fo­cus in mak­ing the min­istry’s mis­sion suc­cess­ful.”

He said the min­istry would con­tinue to pro­vide aid and in­cen­tives to farm­ers and fish­er­men, but it also wanted them to im­prove their ca­pa­bil­ity.

“We must give them ‘fish­ing rods’, not just fish all the time.

“These in­cen­tives need to be strength­ened with train­ing and tech­nol­ogy so that they are not fo­cused on only one thing.

“For ex­am­ple, when fish­er­men are not go­ing out to sea, they can grow pineap­ples and veg­eta­bles us­ing the fer­ti­ga­tion method.

“This is one of the ways to em­power this group, which is poor. They can move from us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods to modern ones, even if it is done on a small scale.”

“Sub­si­dies are given even in de­vel­oped coun­tries, es­pe­cially in the food se­cu­rity sec­tor. But we want this to re­sult in farm­ers be­com­ing mil­lion­aires. We can do this by com­ple­ment­ing the sub­si­dies with train­ing to im­prove the farm­ers’ stan­dard of liv­ing.

“If we don’t do this, they will be­come stag­nant. We want the sec­tor to be dy­namic and max­imise its po­ten­tial in line with the coun­try’s long-term agro-food pol­icy, which ends in 2020.

“We will con­duct a study to en­sure that the sec­tor con­tin­ues to be em­pow­ered.”

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