KUALA LUMPUR: The RM220mil allocated for the construction of the new Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) corporate office in Kelana Jaya will not solve current issues faced by farmers and smallholders, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson).
“They (the government) must change the old ways of thinking. Marketing issues will not be solved by the construction of a new building, ” said Anwar during his debate speech on Budget 2021 at the committee stage in Parliament on Wednesday (Dec 2).
The Opposition leader also said Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee should be aware of the nation’s priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic, as Anwar criticised the construction of the RM220mil corporate building and Fama’s role in assisting farmers.
“The minister must be aware of our priorities, whether it is about helping farmers to sell their products or to construct a new castle in Kelana Jaya. This is very important especially during desperate times like now.”
He said the Ministry must relook into Fama’s role, as he pointed out that many poor farmers in Sabah were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The issue of poor farmers in Sabah will not be solved by this construction, ” he said, adding that the disposal of the proposed building could financially assist poor farmers.
Anwar also said that farmers remained among the poorest communities in the country, with many of them earning wages as low as RM500 per month.
“Many city elites are not aware about why we need to help them. That is because their salaries are estimated to be RM500 a month up till RM3,000 a month.
“Most of them are making between RM500 to RM1,000 a month.”
Previously, Ronald said the construction of a new Fama building is expected to be completed by 2025.
Ronald also said the government is set to gain RM60mil from the construction of the new building in Kelana Jaya following a land swap deal with a developer involving a Fama building in Johor Baru.