KUCHING (Apr 17): Works on the National Pepper Industry Research and Development Centre (PlLN) at Semenggok here should reach completion by July this year, said federal Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali.
He said there had been some delays in the project due to the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in the fight against Covid-19.
According to him, the works progress is now at 69 per cent towards completion.
“We are now in Phase 2, which involves the construction of the R&D (research and development) block. Costing RM38 million, the second phase was approved and implemented under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
“We hope that the contractor could complete Phase 2 according to schedule,” he told reporters after attending the project briefing at the site yesterday.
Mohd Khairuddin regarded PILN as being ‘very important’ for pepper development in the country.
“This R&D centre would serve to intensify the pepper industry in Sarawak primarily, and Malaysia, as a whole.
“The role of the centre is, of course, to carry out R&D work, which is very important because no industry can excel without good R&D.
“We hope with good R&D, it would further improve the quality of Sarawak pepper.”
Adding on, Mohd Khairuddin said his ministry was currently planning Phase 3 of the project.
The third phase, he said, would cost an estimated RM40 million, and would involve the construction of the administrative and development block.
“We will apply to the Ministry of Finance for the fund, and for it to include this project under the 12MP,” said the minister.
Mohd Khairuddin said overall, the whole development would cost slightly over RM80 million, including the RM1.8 million for implementation of Phase 1.
Malaysia Pepper Board director-general Philip Gaweng was also present.