Salient. Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol 41 No. 3. March 13 1978
Ironically it is the government's introduction of the HYV rice that has partly contributed to the abandonment of the off-season crop. The HYV rice — or "miracle" rice — will produce high yeilds only under ideal conditions. Unlike the hardy traditional rice, which has evolved through thousands of years of natural selection, HYV rice is a delicate plant that is very vulnerable to disease and requires a lot of nutrients and water. The absence of an essential element e.g. optimum irrigation, may cause HYV rice to produce even less grain than traditional varieties.
The introduction of HYV rice to Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia in in the sixties — the "Green" Revolution —was intended by the World Bank and the local ruling elites to stave off the "Red" (i.e. communist-led) Revolution by increasing rural productivity and thereby incomes without the need to undertake land reform, which has been strongly resisted by big land-owning interests entrenched in the government.
However, without land reform, the root cause of peasant poverty — land hunger arising from unequal distribution of land-still remains. In fact, the present crisis will throw this root problem of tenant fanners into clearer perspective. While all 60.000 families in the Muda area will be adversely affected by the loss of the offseason crop, the most severely hit will be the 21,000 families of tenant farmers, who are the poorest group with the least savings to fall hack upon.