MIRI: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas blasted critics on social media for accusing the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) led Sarawak government of lying over the Long Lama proposed Collection, Processing and Packaging Centre (CCPC) and the export of durians.
He said funds for the proposed CCPC was now with the Public Works Department (JKR) – the implementing agency for the project.
“Now the funds for the Long Lama collecting centre is with JKR and they have to implement it for us and I hope it will be implemented soonest,” said Uggah told reporters in Miri after officiating at the appreciation dinner of the Agriculture Department, 2019 last night.
He said the second issue raised was accusing the government of lying about durian exports.
“This year we exported 100 tonnes of durian paste, like tempoyak – not the whole fruit as we can’t export it like that, but the tempoyak itself is in high demand.
“I think they don’t read newspapers, so whoever wrote that please read this news, we are here not to bluff and mislead the people but here to help the people because the Long Lama CCPC will be a strategic area to collect all the durians in that area,” he said.
Uggah who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, MANRED said: “The government strategy is when the durian can be sold in the open market, let it be, but when big volume comes when the price starts to drop, we have two companies now who are buying durian and selling it to China as a joint-venture with Johor, and the other is local.”
Uggah when announcing the project recently said that the centre is in line with the state government’s mission towards becoming a major exporter of fruits and fruit products not only in the country, but also in Asean region by 2030.
He added the centre would boost the durian industry in Baram, which is famous for its quality durian fruits.
“Thus, establishing a collection centre here is one of my ministry’s commercialisation strategies, particularly aimed at helping rural and smallholding farming communities to market their produce competitively,” he pointed out, adding that the establishment of the CCPC could address logistics issues faced by the local farming community.
He assured that his ministry would also ensure that product packaging would fulfill the international requirements for marketing.