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KADA to introduce two new rice varieties in June

— The Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (KADA) plans to introduce two new rice varieties, U-Putra and NMR 152, which can produce more yields, better quality as well as disease-resistant, in June.

Its chairman, Datuk Kamarudin Md Nor said the U-Putra variety was an innovation by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the NMR 152 by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency (ANM).

“We expect the planting of these new rice varieties to start in the coming season in June. For this pilot stage, it will involve a land area of between four and 10 hectares,” he said.

He told reporters this at the Merdeka Meranti, Senor and Bakong estate revenue and tithe distribution ceremony at the Kubang Bunut Area Farmers Organisation (PPK) here today, which was also attended by KADA general manager Nik Roslan Idris.

Kamarudin also said the maturity period of the new variety of paddy was shorter, only around 100 days compared to the usual 110 days.

“In fact, according to the results of previous studies, these new rice seeds are also able to yield production twice as much compared to regular rice seeds. The U-Putra variety can produce up to 10.2 tonnes per hectare and the NMR 152 yield 11 tonnes per hectare,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

RON97 up three sen; RON95, diesel unchanged

— The retail price of RON97 petrol will go up by three sen per litre to RM2.50 while the prices for RON95 petrol and diesel will remain unchanged at RM2.05 and RM2.15 per litre respectively for the period of March 25 to 31.

The Ministry of Finance, in a statement today, said the new prices were based on the weekly retail pricing of petroleum products using the Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM) formula.

“To protect consumers from global oil price increases, the government will maintain the ceiling price of RON95 at RM2.05 per litre and diesel at RM2.15 per litre, even though the market price for both products has increased beyond the current ceiling price,” it said.

The government will keep monitoring the trends of global crude oil prices and take appropriate measures to ensure the continued welfare and well-being of the people, it added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Developing key infrastructure can boost Sarawak’s socio-economic progress – Wan Junaidi

— Developing infrastructure like bridges is key to boosting socio-economic development in Sarawak, said Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the revival of the RM848 million Batang Lupar bridge project, which is fully funded by the Sarawak government, was a clear reflection of Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s leadership in putting the interests of Sarawak people first.

As a former Member of Parliament for Batang Lupar, he said that he would always have a soft spot for places like Triso, Sebuyau and Meludam, and was delighted to learn of the revival of the project.

“I believe this infrastructure project is what the folks not only in these coastal communities in Batang Lupar but also all the coastal regions of Sarawak want as this will accelerate progress and development,” he said in a statement today.

He said the mighty Batang Lupar river is not something one should take lightly because it is wide and choppy and dangerous with strong currents.

Travelling by boat across or along the river then, before ferry service was introduced, was indeed very challenging, said Wan Junaidi, who spent part of his early life in the area.

According to Wan Junaidi, when a school in Triso was closed in the late 1980s, many children in the area had to stop schooling as going to school was certainly a risky undertaking.

He said that over the years, ferry services had been launched to connect Meludam Peninsula with Sebuyau and Sebangan complex but many weaknesses remain.

“The bridge is the only good solution to the people’s woes and the chief minister has fulfilled the people’s dream,” he said.

The dream was close to being realised when the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem managed to convince the then Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Razak on the need to build the bridge, a crucial component for the development of Sarawak’s coastal region.

It was then agreed that the estimated cost of RM1 billion to build the bridge would be equally borne by the state and federal governments, but Pakatan Harapan withdrew from sharing the cost after taking over Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional in 2018.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

KPDRM sets to diversify its tourism-related business

Koperasi Polis Diraja Malaysia Berhad (KPDRM), through its business wing, KOP Mantap Berhad, is planning to diversify its tourism-related business to strengthen its position in the tourism market with several initiatives ready to be implemented soon.

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Ayub Yaakob said the initiatives, aimed at among others to turn the diversified police assets into tourism attractions, either at the domestic or international level.

He said, to ensure success of the initiatives, KPDRM would work closely with the relevant quarters, especially travel agencies and hoteliers to promote their tourism products.

“Actually, KOP Mantap has seven subsidiaries involved in different types of business relating to education, security, retail, logistics, aviation, tourism and construction.

“So, in regard to the tourism sector, we can turn police assets such as Police Training Centre and Police Museum as tourism attractions.

“As of now, we already have a licence to run weapons business and this will probably enable us to collaborate with the police force to develop shooting ranges to lure tourists to feel the shooting club experience in a professional way,” said Ayub, who is also chairman of KOP Mantap.

He said this to reporters after attending KPDRM and KOP Mantap to the Southern Zone Police Contingent here Thursday night.

Also present were Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, Bukit Aman Logistics and Technology Department director Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim and Johor Police deputy chief Datuk Khaw Kok Chin.

Ayub said KPDRM would also discuss with the Malaysian Cooperative Commission and relevant agencies to enable KOP Mantap to collaborate with all cooperatives in Malaysia in offering travel and tour services.

“We aim to be one of the leading travel agencies that offer travel and tour services not only to our members but also to members of other cooperatives.

“We believe it can be done as among the police members, there already a niche market involving their families and relatives who may want to use the service of travel agencies to perform haj and umrah,” he said, adding that KPDRM now has 104,000 members.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PDRM’s willingness to expose errant cops shows it means business – IGP

— The Royal Malaysia Police’s (PDRM) willingness to expose misconduct and integrity issues among errant personnel clearly shows that the department will not compromise on taking action against them, says Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.

He said although the move had received criticism from quarters claiming that the department was exposing skeletons in its own closet, it also proved that the police did not protect members and officers who committed offences.

“I myself am willing to share the ugly stories to serve as a lesson for my subordinates, besides providing confidence to the public that the police are not conspiring to protect such disgusting activities,” he said in an interview broadcast live on Sinar Harian’s official Facebook today.

He said the police force belonged to the state, and the public had the right to receive the best service.

Abdul Hamid added that the previous media expose on some police personnel living a luxurious lifestyle, incommensurate with their posts and monthly salaries, would be used as a new benchmark for the department to eradicate the problem.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

PEMERKASA: RM300 subsidy for households to buy smart phones

To reduce the digital gap, the government has enhanced by RM300 the subsidy for buying smart phones for B40 households with schoolgoing children under the Prihatin Network Programme, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The prime minister said the allocation for the Prihatin Network Programme has been increased to RM2 billion, and it would be launched in May.

“I appeal to telecommunication companies to offer affordable internet packages and continue to provide additional data quota,” he said when unveiling the RM20 billion Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy (PEMERKASA), which was aired live on television today.

This comes under the “Reducing Digital Gap” initiative, one of the 20 strategic initiatives under PEMERKASA.

The government had earlier announced a RM180 subsidy for purchasing handphones for all recipients of the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) aid under Budget 2021.

Muhyiddin also said the MyDIGITAL and Malaysia Digital Economy framework had outlined commercial 5G service as the most important need and as such, 5G service is expected to be rolled out in stages beginning the end of this year.

He also said to improve the quality of broadband service especially in the rural areas, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had allocated RM3.2 billion this year under the Universal Service Provision Fund to upgrade existing transmitting stations and provide fibre optic access to related premises.

He said MCMC would also introduce the MyBAIKHATI programme in collaboration with telecommunication companies under the device crowdsourcing initiative.

“This programme will kick off with a campaign to collect used gadgets such as computer laptops which will be repaired and distributed to Community Internet Centres and community organisations,” he added.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also announced some good news for youth groups in the country, including boosting the eBelia programme by increasing the credit value from RM100 to RM150, which will benefit two million youths.

He said this initiative involving an allocation of RM300 million would be implemented beginning June this year.

Apart from this, Muhyiddin said the Urban Community Economic Empowerment (PKEB) programme would also be expanded with an additional allocation of RM10 million, taking the total allocations for this year to RM21 million.

“A total of 1,800 participants will benefit from the entrepreneurial training and equipment to be provided for free for following the programmes and courses they signed up for,” he said.

He also said the allocation for the Tunas Usahawan Belia Bumiputera programme would be increased to produce 250 new Bumiputera youth entrepreneurs, apart from introducing the New Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp programme for providing online preparatory training and business guidance to 2,000 youth entrepreneurs.

Muhyiddin said Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) also offers the PEMERKASA-YOUTH Micro Financing Scheme to provide loans of up to RM50,000 at an interest rate as low as three per cent to youths to venture into business.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

MAFI confident insurance scheme for agriculture industry will be realised soon

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) is confident that its suggestion of an insurance scheme for agriculture and agrofood industry players will be realised soon, thanks to the assistance from insurance companies in the country.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the insurance policy model was being developed by Bank Pertanian Malaysia Berhad (Agrobank) in collaboration with insurance providers.

“I feel that we (MAFI) will soon be presented with policy models that can be created with the assistance of insurance industry players,” he told a media conference after an aid presentation ceremony here today.

In his speech, Ronald said the implementation of the insurance scheme would be in line with the government’s intent to industrialise the agriculture and agrofood sectors in the country, especially the paddy industry through the Large-Scale Smart Field (Smart SBB) programme.

He said the programme aimed to optimise the use of resources, as well as increase the efficiency of paddy planting and yields, adding that the ministry has targeted a national increase in average yield from 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare to seven metric tonnes per hectare during the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12).

“In the long term, the SMART SBB programme is expected to help the country achieve the self-sufficiency level for paddy set under the RMK12, which is 75 per cent,” he said.

Regarding the aid presentation, Ronald said the ministry approved RM2.19 million in allocation through the disaster fund to 1,009 farmers encompassing 1,278 hectares in the Muda region who were affected by floods in the state in September and October last year.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency