KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Sept 2008: The first batch of Barisan Nasional (BN) members of parliament (MPs), part of a 49-member delegation, left for Taiwan today on an agriculture technology study tour.
BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairperson Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said the departure of the BN MPs was being done in stages until Sept 10 as they were using cheap flights.
"I will be leaving for Taiwan either tomorrow or the day after," he told Bernama today.
BNBBC deputy chairperson Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said besides Tiong, the delegation comprised 10 MPs from Sabah and 12 from Sarawak, while the rest were from the peninsula.
"We expect to return to Malaysia on Sept 17 or 18," he said before departing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport today.
Asked why Taiwan was the chosen destination, Bung Mokhtar said they were keen to learn about the new agriculture technology that was being used there.
"Besides, it (Taiwan) is quite near to Malaysia," he said, adding that the expenses for the study tour were borne by the participating MPs themselves.
Bung Mokhtar said the MPs planned to adopt Taiwan’s agriculture technological know-how for the agriculture industry in their respective constituencies.
"The authorities in Taiwan have agreed to arrange for our visits to the farms and agriculture industrial sites there," he added.
Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Bung Mokhtar also refuted claims by some quarters that the visit to Taiwan had to do with BN’s attempts to prevent Pakatan Rakyat from forming a new government come 16 Sept.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had on 5 Sept also said that the study tour had no connection with Pakatan Rakyat’s "Sept 16" plan.
"If they (BN MPs) want to go, let them go. Why should it be linked to Sept 16? They are not going to hop over to the opposition," he had said. – Bernama