Letter – This is to give notice under S.O. 18 (2) that I intend to invoke S.O. 18 (1) in today’s sitting for the following motion

Tuan Yang di-Pertuan,
Dewan Rakyat.

YB Tuan Yang di-Pertuan,

This is to give notice under S.O. 18 (2) that I intend to invoke S.O. 18 (1) in today’s sitting for the following motion:

“That the House grants leave to the Ketua Pembangkang, YB Lim Kit Siang to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely a $ 6 million government salvage fund to provide four per cent soft loan to resolve the plight of the Cameron Highland vegetable farmers as a result of the two-week fungicide and pesticide scare for the following reasons:

1. The present nation-wide scare of consumers in Cameron Highlands vegetables because of fungicide and pesiticide residue levels is largely the result of the failure of the Agriculture Ministry, and in particular the Deputy Agriculture Minister Alex Lee, to look after the interests of the vegetable farmers; because

(i) the Ministry of Agriculture had not taken seriously indications from the Singapore Government last year about high fungicide content of some Cameron Highlands vegetables to guide and help the Cameron Highlands vegetables especially as the Cameron Highlands vegetables farming is a $ 100 million a year industry involving over a thousand vegetable farming families, and the its further importance in earning foreign exchange for their exports to the Singapore market;

(ii) the failure of the government to establish a testing laboratory in Cameron Highlands to advise and help vegetable farmers in the most important vegetable farming area in the country is another example of the indifference and irresponsibility of the Agriculture Ministry, letting the vegetable farmers to ‘live or die on their own’;

(iii) the failure of the Deputy Agriculture Minister Alex Lee to visit and meet with the vegetable farmers in Cameron Highlands to understand their problems in the last two weeks, although he announced that the public should not eat a whole range of Cameron Highlands greens, leading to panic among consumers who stayed away from all vegetables to be on the safe side, leading to great losses to all vegetable farmers, traders and operators – and this raises the question as to the fitness of Alex Lee to be Deputy Agriculture Minister;

2. the maladroit handling of the entire issue of the fungicide and pesticide residue level of the Cameron Highlands greens has caused great financial losses to the Cameron Highlands farmers, as the public scare and panic had been so widespread that public confidence will not easily be restored even though Cameron Highlands vegetables pass the fungicide and pesticide tests, as illustrated by the seven-day closures of the Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh vegetable markets; in fact, many housewives have stopped buying all types of vegetable whether from Cameron Highlands or not;

3. it has been estimated that each Cameron Highlands vegetable household would on average suffer a loss of $ 5,000 from the loss of public confidence in their present crop, totaling some $ 6 million, creating acute problems of finding capital for their next crop or vegetables;

4. For the reason above, the government has a duty and responsibility to make up for its failure to protect the interests of the Cameron Highlands vegetable farmers by establishing a x $ 6 million salvage fund to provide low interest loans at 4 per cent to enable the vegetable farmers to overcome their present hardships.