DEPUTY Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has called on Government-linked companies to help farmers and rural communities instead of investing in big projects and hotels overseas.
He expressed regret over the lack of assistance huge GLCs were providing to rural folk, especially farmers.
"We have to call upon the GLCs to think of the rural people, too.
"Sometimes, I get frustrated that they are only interested in big projects, hotels here. And farmers, they (the GLCs) do not want to help," Tajuddin told Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (BN-Bagan Serai).
Dr Noor Azmi had asked the ministry to state efforts taken by Bernas to help rice farmers improve their productivity.
Tajuddin’s remarks caused a stir in the Dewan, but he remained firm. "I take responsibility for this statement; I do not care what you think, I fight for the rakyat," he said.
Tajuddin’s answer comes in the wake of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe into Felda Investment Corp’s (FIC) purchase of a hotel in London.
Tajuddin said only the GLCs would have the resources to help the farmers get access to the global market. “They can only venture into the global platform and export their produce with the help of GLCs.
"Please do not aim to make big profits only. We want our farmers to be able to compete with those from developed countries such as South Korea," he said.
On the special treatment given to Bernas, Tajuddin reminded the company to return the favour by helping the rural community.
"We give them (Bernas) special treatment but they should not overlook this. Making profits without fulfilling their obligations to the farmers is unacceptable,” Tajuddin said. “There is no Bernas without farmers and there is no Bernas without buyers.”
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