IPOH: The Sultan of Perak has urged the government to come up with strategic plans to address the rising cost of foodstuff, adding that food security is becoming an increasing burden for the people. Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said this should be a red flag for the government to devise immediate measures.
“These measures must give priority to the crucial role and critical needs of the agricultural sector,” he said, adding that food security was becoming a challenge for any government.
He pointed out that of the country’s 15 million-strong workforce, only 1.8 million worked in the agricultural sector.
“They comprise mainly senior folk and is too small a number to be responsible for producing food for a population of 32 million people, that is expected to rise to 36 million in 2030.
“More so, production methods were not modernised to produce higher yields,” he said, adding that Malaysia imported some RM50bil worth of foodstuff last year.
“This situation will become more chronic with food wastage reported at some 17,000 tonnes of food daily.
“This quantity can provide three meals daily for 12 million people,” he said at the opening of the first meeting of the second session of the 14th Perak State Assembly sitting at the state secretariat building here yesterday.
Development, said Sultan Nazrin, was also not a licence to destroy the environment, pointing to reports of uncontrolled and illegal development in the Kinta Highlands bordering Cameron Highlands in Pahang and Lojing, Kelantan, that had harmed nature.
Unplanned and illegal activities carried out without Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports had caused soil erosion and siltation, he said, adding that the state would not compromise against illegal settlers.
“Being soft and accommodating will give the wrong message and encourage more illegal land encroachment,” he said, calling for environmental pollution to be given serious attention.
“The toxic waste disaster in Pasir Gudang, Johor, should be made a lesson.
“The Department of Environment and local governments must be stern, regularly monitor and ensure that environmental standards are adhered to.
“All plastic recycling factories are to undergo the EIA while illegal factories are to be closed down immediately,” said Sultan Nazrin, urging government departments, agencies, schools, houses of worship and non-governmental groups to play their part in implementing zero plastic campaigns.
Sultan Nazrin said the terrorist attack against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month should serve as a lesson for Malaysians that acts which instilled hate and sowed the seeds of hostility, especially in the name of race and religion, were dangerous.
“Acts by anyone to sensationalise racial and religious issues will spark disputes that can destroy a country built by our forefathers.
“For the stability of the country and harmony between the people, words and actions that can cause disputes should be avoided,” he said.