| MONDAY APRIL 14 2008


news without borders

MCA man tells all on pig farming project
Press Digest
by Kong See Hoh

THE original centralised pig farming plan under the previous Selangor state government was for a bumiputra company to bring in German technology and to utilise funds from United Nations environment programme. MCA traditional agriculture bureau chairman Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng, who disclosed this on Saturday, also revealed a preliminary proposal for the company to impose a RM50 levy on each pig sold by the farmers, for the treatment of effluents. According to a report in Oriental Daily News yesterday, Lee said Tanjung Sepat assemblyman Datuk Karim Mansor, who has been criticising the centralised pig farming project in the Malay dailies lately, was the person behind the plan to have a bumiputra firm bring in German technology for the project. He said the previous state government under Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo had sent a delegation to Germany on a study tour of the German technology used in pig farming, and Mansor and Ladang Tumbuk village head Mohamad Tarmudi Tushiran were part of the delegation. Mohamad Tarmudi was among some 200 people who gathered in front of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah building where the Mentri Besar’s office is located to protest the state government’s move to carry on with the RM100 million modern pig farming project in Kuala Langat last week. “Today I want to stress that the RM100 million meant to upgrade pig farming effluent system would not come from the state government. Datuk Karim was to bring in a German company to set up a joint venture company with a bumiputra firm,” Lee told a “tell-all” press conference in Kuala Lumpur. “This joint venture company was to utilise an allocation from the UN fund for environment programme to help (modernise) the proposed centralised pig farming.” Lee said he knew the project like the back of his hand as he had attended all the meetings regarding the centralised pig

farming project approved by the previous state government. “Initially, it was suggested that a levy of RM50 be imposed for each pig sold as charges for effluent treatment. But we (the bureau) and pig farmers felt it was too high. The company (tasked with bringing in German pig farming technology) agreed to put the levy talk on hold,” he said. Lee said he hoped the Pakatan Rakyat state government would look into the issue of levy on effluent treatment, which he believed should be reduced progressively. At the press conference, he strongly criticised Karim and Mohamad Tarmudi who, out of personal political interests, made an about-turn on the centralised pig farming project. He also urged Umno leaders to respect the pork-eating culture of the Chinese. Karim was not the only Selangor Umno leader to have washed his hands of the centralised pig farming project. Khir had also denied having approved the project during his tenure. Lee said early last year, then MCA state exco members Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng and Datuk Tang See Hang obtained the green light from Khir to relocate 132 pig farms in the state to a 460ha integrated pig farming area in Ladang Tumbuk, in the Kuala Langat district. He said most of the 132 farms involved were actually from Ladang Tumbuk or from within the Kuala Langat district. “In January this year, prior to the dissolution of parliament, the Selangor state government approved the project. Among those who gave their support to the project was Karim,” Lee said, adding that there were minutes and records to prove all these. He said based on his knowledge, centralised or integrated pig farming is a good way to modernise pig farming, and he challenged the Pakatan Rakyat to also modernise pig farming in states under its control, that is Perak, Penang and Kedah. Lee also urged Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai to take stern action against pig farmers found still using beta-agonist. It was reported last week that two farms in Selangor were suspected to have been feeding their pigs with the banned growth enhancer.

‘BN must listen’ to win back states
WANITA Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe says as long as the Barisan Nasional (BN) learns its lesson well from the recent polls setback and starts to listen to the people, it can recapture Penang in the next general election. A report in Sin Chew Daily yesterday quoted her as saying there is an urgent need for BN to change, and apart from admitting its mistakes that caused it to lose big in the election, it has to take a series of remedial measures. Tan, who is Gerik MP and deputy information minister, was commenting on a remark by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin in a Chinese daily that it would take at least 10 years for BN to win back the four states it lost to Pakatan Rakyat. Speaking to the press after chairing the Gerakan wing’s central committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, Tan said as long as BN is willing to listen to the people, “it need not wait for 10 years to resume control of Penang”. She said at the meeting, Wanita Gerakan resolved to call on the government to release the five leaders of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) held under the Internal Security Act. She said the Hindraf five should not be regarded as terrorists who pose a threat to the security of the country. The people have shown their displeasure with the government through the ballot box by electing M. Manoharan, one of the detained Hindraf leaders, as Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman in the general election, she added. Asked if she was worried that she would come under fire from other BN component parties for speaking up, Tan said she was merely conveying the message of the people to the government and what she said reflected the sentiments on the ground.

Mei Fun mum on Wanita top post
WANITA MCA deputy chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun has neither confirmed nor denied speculation that she would be going for the wing’s top post in the party elections later this year. She told China Press after attending a function in Petaling Jaya on Saturday that it is not the time yet to talk about party elections. “When the time comes, those who want to contest will (make known their intentions to) contest,” she said when asked to comment on talk that she would contest the Wanita top post. She said it was premature for her to talk about party elections as “what is of utmost importance now is to boost party morale and enhance solidarity”. She appealed to party members to refrain from making calls in public for top leaders to resign even if they are not happy with their leadership. Such calls will only split the party, she said.