The move comes amid fears of shortages caused by the global rise in food and energy prices. It also follows a general election in which the government took a massive beating.
The prime minister says the country produces up to 70 percent of the rice Malaysians consume. He says the additional cultivation in Sarawak state on the island of Borneo is intended to make the country completely self-sufficient.
Details of the plan have not been released, including whether palm oil plantations will be converted or forest land will be cleared to make way for the rice paddies.