Agricultural work can continue in Cameron Highlands and other EMCO areas, says Transport Minister

PETALING JAYA: Agricultural produce from enhanced movement control order areas such as Cameron Highlands can still be transported out to supply the rest of the country, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The Transport Minister said the Cabinet agreed that agricultural workers such as farmers can continue tending to their produce and transporting them even if they are in EMCO areas.

"The Cabinet has decided that these are essential services and that vegetables and crops must be transported immediately because this is to supply the whole of Malaysia.

"According to our guidelines, essential services should not be stopped and we reaffirm that agricultural activities, even in EMCO areas, must be allowed.

"This is because the supply of vegetables is essential, and if lorries and trucks are not allowed in or if workers cannot enter their farms, we will face problems getting the supply of vegetables," he said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (June 16).

There had initially been confusion over the matter as reports emerged that prices of vegetables from Cameron Highlands were expected to increase by 30% to 40% after several areas there were placed under EMCO.

It was reported that the price increase was anticipated because of an immediate stop to production with 12,000 foreign and local workers unable to leave their homes to get to work.

Dr Wee, however, said that Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee had spoken up on behalf of the farmers, while Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin would ensure that enforcement officials are fully informed.

"In the past, the general principle was that you have to stop all activities in EMCO areas. But now with the lockdown, we need to make sure that there is an adequate supply of vegetables.

"We know that Cameron Highlands supplies a lot of vegetables, not just to Malaysia, but to Singapore as well.

"Hence, if these crops cannot be transported out, we will face a shortage in vegetable supply," he said.

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