KOTA KINABALU: Transportation of vegetables from Kundasang to other parts of Sabah has been allowed since the first week of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which started on 18 March.
Since then, a total of 148 permits for 184 vehicles have been registered and issued with special movement stickers.
This was revealed by Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong in response to a recent statement by Jailin Nazrin, the Kampung Lipasu Unit head for the Kinabalu Area Farmers’ Association (PPK).
Jailin was reported as saying: “The problem is getting worse, as vegetable wholesalers outside Kundasang are not allowed in. Vegetables are important for the people, and their production and sale must continue.”
Junz said, the agency involved in enforcing the MCO are the Royal Malaysian Police, but the transportation of vegetables from Kundasang to Brunei, Sarawak or even Semananjung was exempted from the MCO.
Junz explained that at the Ranau/Kundasang district level, all agencies involved were working together to ensure farmers and transporters are given assistance.
“My Ministry, the district office, the police, the Health Ministry, Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) and all involved are working closely with the relevant stakeholders like farmers and transporters to ensure the process is smooth.
“The MCO has affected everyone, especially farmers in Kundasang. This is unavoidable as we need to flatten the curve. But we are working closely to reduce the impact on essential activities,” he stated.
According to Junz, he was informed that Sabah FAMA is monitoring the situation to ensure vegetables in Kundasang can reach Tawau, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Sandakan, Kudat and Kota Kinabalu.
“Vegetables from Kundasang have even reached Sarawak through Sindumin. In fact, Sabah FAMA has facilitated 45 metric tonnes of produce to places like Selayang in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. There were no issues,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Junz praised farmer and activist Azizul Julirin and his friends for assisting the transportation of vegetables to Kota Kinabalu.
“I have met and been in touch with Azizul Julirin who is a youth activist and farmer in Kundasang. He and friends have been transporting vegetables from Kundasang to Kota Kinabalu.
“But who is Jailin Nazrin to make the baseless claim? Is he from Kundasang and a farmer in Kundasang? We have never seen him around and the locals don’t know him.
“My ministry through the Agriculture Department will continue allowing and monitoring the situation. We have been doing this since the first and second week of the MCO and we will continue doing so,” Junz concluded.