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July 2024

Cost of living council to discuss rice cartel allegations

Naccol committee chairman Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal wants the government to take ‘serious action’ on the matter.

The companies allegedly involved in the cartel are said to control up to 80% of the local white rice market.

PETALING JAYA: The national action council on cost of living (Naccol) will discuss allegations of syndicates involving up to five major companies in the rice industry when it meets on Wednesday.

Bukit Gantang MP Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal, who heads Naccol’s food prices and cost of living committee, said he was informed about the cartel through engagements with rice farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and users.

Syed Hussin said he will bring the matter to the meeting so that “serious action” would be taken by the government.

“The companies involved control up to 80% of the local white rice market. The cartel buys padi at a high price, which is RM1,850 per tonne, and then raises the price of rice,” he claimed, according to Bernama.

“Some of these companies are selling local rice in imported rice packages. The actions of this cartel are destabilising the ecosystem of padi and rice prices.”

In January, the agriculture and food security ministry said its padi and rice regulatory division was working with the Malaysia Competition Commission to investigate allegations of syndicates in the rice industry.

Syed Hussin also said Naccol will discuss a proposed RM200 subsidy for farmers for every tonne of padi sold to manufacturers, so that local white rice may be sold at RM30 per 10kg bag.

The Bersatu man is believed to be referring to his “Madani white rice” proposal to replace the local white rice and imported white rice categories.

He had “announced” that the government will introduce the “Madani white rice” priced at RM30 for a 10kg sack from March 1 and that it will be the sole category of white rice in the country.

Currently, local white rice is sold at RM26 for a 10kg bag, RM13 for 5kg and RM2.60 for 1kg.

Agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu later clarified that Syed Hussin’s announcement was “just his suggestion” and that no decision had been made on the proposal. QR Code

Published Date: March 16, 2024

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