KUALA LUMPUR: The government has instructed the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA) to expand the distribution of white rice in suburban and rural areas as one of the four intervention measures to be implemented to resolve the rice supply problem.
The intervention measures are aimed to reduce the people’s woes on the price hike of imported rice and the rise in demand of local rice.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said, this is one of the four intervention measures that will be implemented following a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today.
“In view of the margin of the sales of the local white rice is only 50 sen per packet of 10kg., the government will channel the transportation cost to FAMA,” he said in a special press conference held here today.
For Sabah and Sarawak he said, the government agrees to give a subsidy amounting RM950 per tonne metric for imported white rice (BPI) starting 5th Oct. and this measure will enable BPI to be obtained at a retail price of RM31 per 10kg.
“This is because the production of white rice in Sabah and Sarawak is limited,” he said.
Mohamad added, another intervention measure is the new procurement of rice under the government contract which will use local white rice.
“All suppliers will use local rice by obtaining supplies at a wholesale price of RM3,200 (warehose price) in 50kg. bags subject to conditions and regulations that have been fixed. This is to give priority to the supply of rice to the people,” Mohamad said.
Meanwhile, he said, the government will be launching the Integrated Special Task Force for the Enforcement of White Rice Operations (OP BPT) involving the control of padi and rice (KPB), Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN) enforcement, Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), Royal Malaysian Customs Department and Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS).
The Minister said, the operation will focus on inspection and enforcement at all levels of the local white rice supply chain.
Besides that, Mohamad stressed that rice samples will be taken at all rice mills, wholesale warehouses and supermarkets for chemical analysis to ensure there is no manipulation of the commodity.
He then reminded the people to be calm and purchase rice as usual according to their family needs.
Mohamad said, when fast buying for example involving the people in Klang Valley, they like to buy imported rice compared to the local rice but when there is an increase in the price of imported rice till RM37 and RM38 they will change to buy local rice.
“Actually there is no shortage of rice in Malaysia, only the price of imported rice has increased drastically,” he added.
Regarding the progress of the discussion between the Unity Government and the government of India involving the Ministry of Agriculture and the Farmers’ Welfare, Mohamad said, all the requests from Malaysia will be answered by this week. – Malaysia World News