GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian farming policies will be revamped to focus more on agricultural sciences so it can cultivate higher production, said Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub. He said he wants institutions of higher learning including Universiti Putra Malaysia to lead the charge to transform farming into a high yield and high-income sector for farmers and fishermen. Salahuddin said gone are the days when farming was a backwater industry, adding that smart apps would be tapped to modernise the sector. He announced that he would be seeking up to RM2 million to rejuvenate the application of agriculture sciences and biotechnology to the masses, especially the young who are keen to cultivate the fields. He pointed out that small nations such as the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan have proven that farmers need not have large land tracts to cultivate productive farming, but the technology and the desire to do it. "We need to allow our specialists on farming to reclaim the leadership; to boost income for our farming community and to explore new technologies for boosting yield instead of being dependent on the government only," he told journalists. Earlier, he was conferred the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas which carries the title of Datuk for the Johor-born politician, who is the Parti Amanah Nasional deputy president. Salahuddin also said that he will be part of the delegation to China next month, led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In which, he plans to engage his China counterpart to reduce the protocols and import bureaucracy for Malaysian exporters to send processed durians, tropical fruits and vegetables to China. "It is a lucrative import market at China but we must meet their guidelines and to reduce the protocols," he added. Salahuddin said that if there are prospects in agriculture, the corporate companies will naturally be involved, so there is no need to encourage private sector participation. "They will come," he said, citing the vegetable plantations in Cameron Highlands (Perak) as an example of a private sector-led farming enterprise. On another matter, Salahuddin said that the new Pakatan Harapan government needs to be given time to prove its mettle following allegations made at the Sungai Kandis state by-election in Selangor that the new coalition has failed to live up to its promises. He also said that claims that Malay rights were trampled on, was meant to sow confusion among the electorate.