Sarawak CM denies offering 600,000ha of state land for agriculture

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today denied that the state government has offered 600,000 hectares of state land to ‘whoever is interested for agriculture’. — Bernama pic
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today denied that the state government has offered 600,000 hectares of state land to ‘whoever is interested for agriculture’. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, May 27 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today denied that the state government has offered 600,000 hectares of state land to “whoever is interested for agriculture”.

He said he was shocked to read a news story that quoted federal Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub as saying that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak state government had agreed to offer the large piece of land to anyone.

“You know 600,000ha is more than one million acres. How can we give away the land of that big?” he asked.

“It is stupid of me to give the land of that size,” he said at a press conference after the opening of an integrated hydrogen production plant here.

The chief minister was asked to confirm if it was true that the state government had offered the land as reported by a Malay-language online news portal yesterday.

“I don’t know how they get the figure. With due respect, there are so many wrong messages being circulated from the other side,” he said, without elaborating.

The news portal quoted Salahuddin as saying that the state government wanted the 600,000ha to be developed by his ministry and any quarters who were interested.

According to the news portal, Salahuddin would discuss the matter with the chief minister when the two met this afternoon.

He also said parts of the land would be used to plant maize to supplement at least 20 per cent of the country’s needs.