KUCHING: The Sarawak government has approved 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of land to be planted with various cash crops by the federal government, says Agriculture and Agro-Based Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.
He said the land in Lingga, Sri Aman division, was approved in response to a request from Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin, who wrote to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the matter.
"So we say thank you very much to the Chief Minister. This is one of our efforts for Sarawak and Malaysia to be able to export several crops in the future," he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Abang Johari at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here on Monday (May 27).
Salahuddin said it was not correct that the state government would offer 600,000 hectares of land to Putrajaya as reported by Berita Harian Online on Sunday (May 26).
"The 600,000 hectares is the size of land which will no longer be replanted with oil palm and the state government is ready to work with any party as part of efforts to introduce cash crops to replace oil palm," he said.
Salahuddin also said he would expedite Putrajaya's cooperation with the state government on the planting of crops on the approved 2,000 acres.
He said a special committee would be set up with Sarawak's agriculture ministry to discuss, coordinate and implement the matter, including determining the crops to be planted based on the soil.
Earlier on Monday (May 27), Abang Johari said he was shocked to read the news that Sarawak was offering 600,000 hectares of land to the federal government.
"That's more than a million acres. How can we give away so much land? I don't know where they got that figure from," he said