Abang Johari officiates at the awards ceremony. From left are Hii, Sikie, Dr Sim, Uggah, and Abu Bakar. – Penerangan photo

KUCHING (Oct 28): An expert on hybrid rice seeds from China could potentially help Sarawak with padi cultivation, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He explained that rice seeds from Vietnam had been used in a pilot project involving a 1ha plot in Lubok Punggor, Gedong in collaboration with Universiti Putra Malaysia.

The project, which began in July and was harvested in September, produced an abundant harvest thanks to the hybrid seeds.

“Alhamdulillah, the one who invented these hybrid seeds came from Wuhan, China and he had sent them to Vietnam. Vietnam has long been a major producer of rice, with Malaysia importing from both Vietnam as well as India.

“Today, the professor from China wants to come to Sarawak to witness our success because he heard about it. He wants to come and help Sarawak produce more rice.

“This is innovation, new seeds. Innovation and new ideas can propel Sarawak’s economy forward,” he said during the Sarawak Civil Service Innovation Convention Awards (SCSICA) here last night.

Abang Johari said he had taken the opportunity to share about the successful padi cultivation project during a meeting with heads of states and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently.

“I told the Prime Minister that I need the money for infrastructure. I can do it, and you help us. I have the land, but I need the infrastructure – drainage and irrigation.

“If you support Sarawak, we will work hard, and perhaps the entire Malaysia can become self-sufficient in rice. This is an idea with innovation,” he added.

Among those present at SCSICA were Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister in the Premier’s Department Dato Sri John Sikie Tayai, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohd Abu Bakar Marzuki, and Deputy State Secretary Datu Hii Chang Kee.