Pelita Mukah Sebakong Sago Plantation, the brainchild of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, has incurred a loss of RM58.74 million since 2005, revealed the Auditor-General Report 2012.

According to the report, which covered a period between March and May 2013, the management of the plantation is unsatisfactory, and this contributed to the continued losses for the company for the past three years.

It cited other reasons such as poor maintenance of the plantation resulting in the sizes of the sago trees not being compatible with the age and buying machinery and other chemicals which are not according to the needs and financial procedures.

The report urged the state government to review the company's management activities at the same time, restudy the viability of the project.

The company should work together with other agencies in research and development to ensure sago can be commercialised in a bigger scale.

Commenting on the report, See Chee How, vice-chairman of Sarawak PKR, described the losses incurred as a "major disaster".

"The losses are indeed a major disaster for a company which is the brainchild of the chief minister," added the Batu Lintang assemblyperson.

He suggested that the government hand over the plantation to the private sector, pointing out there are sago plantations which are run by the private sector and have made profit.

"We cannot have half-hearted people do it. Let the professionals run it," he added.

The plantation which is being centred in Mukah has up-to date planted 13, 843 hectares out of 250, 000 hectares targeted for 2020.

Besides Mukah, there are four other sago plantations in Sarawak namely Oya-Dalat, Pusa-Saratok, Igan and Balingian.

Sago exports rank as the fourth biggest agricultural revenue from Sarawak after oil palm, pepper and cocoa.

In 1993, sago exports were valued at RM23 million.

Sago is one of the staple foods for the Melanau community.