Teresa Kok: Primary industries ministry will ensure continuing viability of commodity sector

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok giving her first press conference after her Cabinet appointment, Putrajaya July 2, 2018. — Bernama pic
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok giving her first press conference after her Cabinet appointment, Putrajaya July 2, 2018. — Bernama pic

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PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — Newly appointed Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim will focus on four areas to ensure the continued viability of the commodity industry across its entire value chain, encompassing both upstream and downstream sectors.

Kok said the first area of focus would be on sustainable development in order to maintain the country’s natural environment and biodiversity.

The ministry, she added, would also work towards improving its efficiency and effectiveness to become more investor and business friendly.

“We will pay attention to efforts undertaken by the various agencies belonging to this ministry to make it easier to conduct business and trade,” she said told reporters today.

The newly-appointed minister also said the ministry would look after the welfare of those involved in the commodity sector such as smallholders, plantation workers and manufacturers.

“We will improve efforts to strengthen existing markets and to explore new markets.

“In line with the government’s policy to be friendly to all countries, I am confident the ministry is ready to undertake its mission to promote Malaysia’s commodity products,” she said.

Finally, Kok said steps would be taken to ensure the viability of the downstream commodity sector by expanding the number of high-value products which can meet the needs and demands of the international market.

“I will place emphasis on the importance of research and development in areas with commercial value, which will also improve the quality and standards of our products.

“At the same, this will ensure Malaysia’s commodity industry remains environmentally friendly,” she said.

In a related development, Kok said her agenda as minister would be to ensure the primary industries sector remained a major contributor in Malaysia’s export sector, in addition to the electrical and electronics, and oil and gas sectors.

“From January to April 2018, commodity exports came in at RM43.5 billion or 13.5 per cent of the country’s export earnings.

“This was a 7.1 decline compared with the RM46.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2017,” she said.

Kok said the major contributor towards commodity exports for January to April 2018 was palm products at RM24.2 billion, which represented 55.5 per cent of exports.

“This was followed by rubber at RM10.2 billion (23.5 per cent), wood-based products totalling RM7.2 billion (16.5 per cent), coco at RM1.7 billion (3.8 per cent), tobacco at RM180.7 million (0.4 per cent) and pepper at RM74.6 million (0.2 per cent),” she added.

The Ministry of Primary Industries is the new ministry taking over the functions of the previous Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities. — Bernama

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