IPOH, Aug 25 — Malaysia must intensify farming for food security, the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said today.
The Perak Ruler, who is also the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, said serious attention must be given to increase food production for the near future due to the disruptions in the global food supply and distribution chain caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and geopolitical conflicts.
“The United Nations pre-summit which took place in Rome last July, voiced concerns caused by the Covid-19 threat which curbed agricultural activities, likely lessening the amount of export from food producing countries that may choose to prioritise their domestic needs.
“Every country needs to think of strategic ways to face the Covid-19 pandemic if it continues to spread further in future,” he said in his royal address while opening the first session of the fourth year of the 14th State Legislative Assembly at the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building here this morning.
Sultan Nazrin said many countries are at risk of starvation as the prices of essential food items were increasing due to these disruptions to the supply and distribution systems.
He urged the agriculture, livestock, and fishing sectors in Malaysia to step up production.
“Beyond that, they need to be more productive, increasing their yields by incorporating a new working culture and using more modern methods and mechanisms,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said Malaysians must keep in mind that the coronavirus is here to stay and they must learn to live with it.
However, he praised the Perak government for pushing on with the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and providing 1,118,358 people in the state with the first dose and 797,316 others with their second dose as of August 24.
He noted that their efforts have resulted in the full vaccination of 42.8 per cent of the state’s total adult population.
Sultan Nazrin also noted that Perak has found a way to increase its revenue by identifying 1,687,500 tonnes of non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE) available for mining in the state.
“The NR-REE is one of the more important minerals of the present and the future due to its extensive use in many high-tech industries, healthcare industries, and in the defence industries.
“Our government has started a pioneer project in mining NR-REE on 213.8 hectares of land. At the same time, our government has been cautious not to be too hasty in granting licenses for large scale mining of the NR-REE,” he added.
However, Sultan Nazrin also said the government should heed the lesson of the past where the state’s landscapes suffered long lasting damages due to tin-mining which has caused grievous harm to the state and people of Perak.
“The health factors, the safety factors, the environmental factors and the long-term benefit of the state and its citizens should be prioritised and cannot be compromised.
“At the same time, Perak should not be content with being mere producers of raw materials. Instead, the raw materials should be complemented with downstream activities so that the returns have added value and will prompt creation of high-level job opportunities for the locals,” he said.