PUTRAJAYA, Carnation flowers, also known as dianthus caryophyllus, are not just beautiful decorations but could also provide a substantial income to cultivators.

These flowers are poised to enter the Dubai market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an ingredient for preparing luxurious dishes in fine-dining restaurants and luxury hotels.

Department of Agriculture (DOA) Floriculture Industry Unit head Mohamad Nizam Malik said the department aimed to export more than 10,000 boxes of carnation flowers by the end of this year.

‘We are targeting 10,000 boxes, each weighing 10 grammes and containing approximately 45 blooms per week, which can provide significant returns to entrepreneurs,’ he told Bernama.

For this, he said the DOA had identified an area spanning 2.4 hectares in Bukit Changgang, Banting, Selangor, for commercial cultivation of carnations or the Edible Flower Export Farm (LEEF).

‘We will focus on the farm in Bukit Changgang as a pilot project to serve as a one-stop centre for the entire process
, starting from planting, harvesting, storing, and packaging before export.

‘The main reason we chose an area close to the airport is to ensure the flowers remain fresh throughout the process until delivery abroad,’ he said, adding that each box of carnation flowers could fetch up to RM80 compared to its local market value of around RM10.

Mohamad Nizam explained that the cost of exporting carnations is lower than that of orchids, which they exported previously.

‘Before this, we exported orchids in the form of premium gift boxes, which incurred relatively high costs, but not for carnations, which also offer significant returns and are a high-value commodity.

‘Unlike orchids, carnations do not require special pots and water gel beads to keep them fresh. Instead, the packaging for carnations will be designed to keep them fresh and satisfy buyers,’ he said.

Mohamad Nizam pointed out that carnations, which are usually used as decorations in homes or at special events, can also be served with desserts such as
ice cream and steaks.

‘Previously, we only heard of edible gold in dishes, but we believe carnations will also receive the same response because of their fresh taste, especially for desserts.

‘The flowers will add value to those dishes and subsequently be sold at higher prices,’ he said.

At present, a carnation planting project is underway at a farm in Kajang. It houses four greenhouses operated by Foliage Microgreens to meet the local market demand.

Mohamad Nizam said the DOA is also eyeing opportunities for the Singapore market following previous demand and has begun planting these flowers in Parit Sulong, Batu Pahat, Johor.

‘Parit Sulong Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad has expressed her intention to make it one of the women’s activities in her constituency, so we are targeting the market in the neighbouring country (Singapore).

‘I am confident this will be a great opportunity to generate income,’ he said.

Recently, Bernama journalists were taken to visit the 0.1-hectare carnation fa
rm owned by Foliage Microgreens, managed by Fairuz Effindi, 39, Faisal Esa, 36, and Abdul Harith Abdul Halim, 37.

Starting with just one greenhouse and a cost of about RM30,000 in 2018, now three more greenhouses have been built to cultivate these flowers.

‘The DOA has provided assistance in terms of advice regarding flower care and opportunities to market this product, and we plan to further advance in this field,’ said Fairuz, adding that carnations have high demand from restaurants and hotels, especially around the Klang Valley.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Sankanta Celebrations Held in Capital and Provinces to Entertain Local People and Tourists

Every year, the capital of Phnom Penh and the provinces hold Sankranta events on the occasion of the Khmer Traditional New Year to entertain local residents as well as national and international tourists.

In some provinces, Sankranta events have been held ahead of the Khmer New Year, while others during the New Year celebration.

The organisation of these events and other entertainment programmes to cheer the Khmer New Year celebration shows the participation, attention, potential and reputation of each capital and provincial administration.

Folk dances, folk games, and religious activities are featured in the Sankranta celebrations to entertain people and allow them to learn more about the Khmer culture and tradition.

Sankranta events are also organised at schools, pagodas, and at district and commune levels, creating joy and united spirit among people.

The Khmer traditional New Year Festival takes place this year from April 13 to 16. During the four-day celebration, businesses and government offices are
closed allowing government officials, people, students, private companies’ staff and factory workers to return to their homeland to celebrate the traditional festival with their family members.

Samdech Maho Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet, Prime Minister of Cambodia, has announced that Cambodia will submit in 2025 the country’s traditional new year celebration ‘Sankranta in Cambodia’ as well as seven other cultural elements to be included on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

To date, the country has four sites on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site and six properties on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse


SHAH ALAM, The government is holding a special meeting this evening following Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 6 pm.

He said the meeting, involving relevant ministers and ministry officials, will be held to formulate immediate measures that need to be taken.

This includes the repatriation of Malaysians in the affected countries, he added.

‘So, I will hold a special meeting this evening to discuss with several ministers and officials to formulate immediate steps in response to the situation.

‘The tension and conflict currently occurring between Iran and Israel stem from the Zionist Israeli regime’s attack on the Iranian Consulate (in Syria), which actually violates international law, and violations usually provoke responses,’ he said.

Anwar was speaking to newsmen after officiating the Fifth International Convention of Dr B.R. Ambedkar and the commemoration of the late Indian jurist, economist, social reformer and
political leader’s 133rd anniversary here today.

Foreign media today reported that Iran had launched a barrage of missiles and drones on Israel.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the meeting will also discuss the necessity for international demands to guarantee settlement and peace in the Middle East conflict.

‘This is because what is happening there (Iran-Israel attack and conflict) will affect world security and economy,’ he said.

In another development, Anwar, when commenting on UMNO Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh labelling a cabinet minister as ‘stupid’, said the statement was inappropriate within the context of the Unity Government.

‘I don’t entertain such statements. Not proper in our context of (the) Unity government. We should work together,’ he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Almost 1.4 Million Tourists Registered on First Day of Khmer New Year Celebration

Some 1.38 million people travelled to tourism destinations across Cambodia on the first day of Khmer Traditional New Year holiday, according to a report released today.

More than 1.36 million of them are local tourists and nearly 20,000 are foreigners, it added.

Battambang region, including Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin and Pursat provinces, attracted the most tourists, followed by the coastal region – Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kèp, and Koh Kong provinces, and the cultural region: Kampong Thom, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces.

Cambodian people are celebrating their traditional New Year, the Year of Dragon, from April 13 to 16.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse


KUALA LUMPUR, There is heavy traffic congestion on highways from the northern region and east coast towards the Klang Valley this evening as city dwellers return from their hometowns after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday.

A Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) spokesman said that as of 5 pm, northern routes into Klang Valley are backed up, particularly from Pendang to Gurun up to Sungai Petani Utara. Congestion is also reported from Bertam to Sungai Dua, Permatang Pauh to Perai, Bandar Baharu to Alor Pongsu, and Bukit Merah to Taiping.

“Traffic is heavy from the north to the Klang Valley at Gopeng towards Tapah, Sungkai to Slim River, and Tanjung Malim to Sungai Buaya.

‘Traffic is at a crawl on the East Coast Expressway 2, from the Paka R and R area towards Paka and Kijal towards Chukai,” he said when contacted.

Traffic is also reported to be slow on the East Coast Expressway 1 towards the Klang Valley due to a build-up of vehicles from Lancang towards Karak, Karak towards Lentang, and Genting Sempah.

while, traffic from the south towards the Klang Valley is reported to be under control, with affected stretches only from Jasin towards Simpang Ampat, Pedas Linggi towards Port Dickson, and Bandar Ainsdale towards Nilai.

The spokesman advised road users to be cautious as most of the affected areas are reported to be experiencing heavy rain.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency