DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement:
Call on Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, to lift the ban on the import of chicken droppings or fowl dungs to avoid an agriculture crisis in Johore.
I have received representations from Chinese and Malay vegetable farmers in Johore about the agriculture crisis they are facing as a result of the ban by the Finance Ministry on the import of ‘chicken droppings’ or ‘fowl dungs’ into West Malaysia from the beginning of this month.
Yesterday, accompanied by the Batu Pahat DAP Branch Secretary, Sdr. Wong Ah Chew, I visited some of the vegetable growing areas in Yong Peng, Ayer Itam and Batu Pahat.
The ban on the import of chicken has created a major agricultural crisis and threatened the livelihood and employment of thousands of people in the vegetable and fruit growing areas in Johore, and who comprise both Chinese and Malay farmers.
For the last two decades, the vegetable and fruit farmers in Johore have used the chicken droppings imported from Singapore as the staple or basic manure for their cultivation. The vegetable farmers found from experience that the chicken droppings manure in superior to the chemical fertilizers for two chief reasons :
Firstly, the chicken droppings ensure better and faster vegetable and fruit growth. Chemical fertilizers used as a mere accompaniment, and in some cases, are used only in the ratio of 1:25 when compare to chicken droppings.
Secondly, the chicken droppings they import from Singapore are 15 to 20 times cheaper than chemical fertilizers.
The ban on import of chicken droppings they import from Singapore will not only lead to poor productivity and low quality of the vegetables and fruits, but to such high costs of production as to make it economically unfeasible to be engaged in vegetable and fruit cultivation in Johore. This will throw several thousands of Chinese and Malay farmers, presently dependent on this sector, onto unemployment. Already the farmers in Yong Peng, Ayer Itam, Machap, Batu Pahat, are unable to re-cultivate because of the ban on the import.
I am very shocked and amazed that the Government should take this action which has no conceivable benefit to anyone, but which has threatened the livelihood of several thousands of people in Johore.If the Government will send teams to visit the affected areas, the will find confirmation of this for themselves. They can even go and ask the Ketua Kampongs of the affected areas to find out for themselves how this measure is affecting the livelihood of the thousands of Malay farm workers and farmers.
The continued ban on the chicken droppings from being imported will not only break the ricebowls of several thousands of farmers in Johore, it will also lead to a steep rise in the price of vegetables and even local fruits. Already in the Johore markets, the price of vegetables are beginning to rise.
Under the Alliance rule for the last 15 years, there has been an endless rise in consumer prices. Today we read of the intention of the coffee and tea business houses to increase the price of coffee and tea per cup by five cents.
Is the government so deaf and blind to the hardships and sufferings its policies have caused to the people of Malaysia?
The vegetables growers and fruits cultivator in Johore are particularly angry that despite their representations to MCA and Alliance leaders,
Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen in Johore, and their attempts to get the help of MCA Ministers in Kuala Lumpur, to end the present agricultural crisis caused by the unreasonable ban of chicken droppings, not a single MCA leader has stirred a finger to help.
Is this because the plight and suffering of the several thousands vegetable farmers is something which the rich and affluent in MCA and Alliance do not want to concern themselves about?
I call on the Minister of Finance, Tun Tan Siew Sin, to immediately lift the ban on the import of chicken droppings to save the Chinese and Malay vegetable farmers and fruit growers in Johore from the crisis of unemployment, retrenchment and even bankruptcy. If this ban is not lifted, then by next month the severity and magnitude of the agricultural crisis will be seen and the Government minst bear full responsibility for the unemployment suffering and hardships of the Johore vegetable farmers and fruit growers.