What happened to 2013’s Jelapang Padi project in Btg Lupar?

A woman and her grandchild harvest padi in Kampung Sekuduk. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Sept 15): The Sarawak government has been asked to provide an update on the ‘Jelapang Padi’ project implemented in the Batang Lupar area 10 years ago.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong, who made the call yesterday, said the project was implemented with the aim of reducing the state’s reliance on imported rice.

“In view that Sarawak is now heavily importing rice, I think members of the public need to know what has happened to this project.

“In 2013, there were high hopes for that project which was said to be able to contribute to the production of the first rice supply in Sarawak, but I haven’t heard anything about it after its announcement,” she told reporters here.

“Maybe it’s time that the Sarawak government let the people know what has happened to the project so that people can understand why the price of rice in Sarawak differs from Peninsular Malaysia.”

Violet Yong

In 2013, then deputy chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang was reported saying the 5,100-hectare Jelapang Padi Project in Batang Lupar, Sri Aman, upon its completion, would contribute to the production of the first rice supply in Sarawak.

He said at the time that the project – the first of its kind in Sarawak – involved participants from Stumbin, Tanjung Bijat, Entulang, Lingga and Banting.

Meanwhile, Yong said due to a number of factors including logistics, Sarawakians will not get to purchase local white rice at the subsidised prices of RM2.60 per kg, or RM26 per 10kg bag, unlike those living in the peninsula.

In this regard, she suggested for Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom to represent the state government in discussing with the federal government on standardising the price.

“I think the Sarawak and federal governments should discuss with each other when it comes to the issue of the price of rice in the state. Maybe a solution for Sarawakians can be found through such approach.

“All Malaysians should enjoy the same (rice) price,” she said.

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