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May 2024

Keeping an eye on local white rice to address shortage

PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister wants more frequent monitoring and enforcement to be carried out to address the shortage of local white rice (BPT) in the market.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said monitoring and enforcement also require changes to ensure a more effective distribution process.

“I personally have heard the concerns raised by traders regarding the shortage of BPT,” he said in his address at the Finance Ministry’s assembly here yesterday.

On the recent special meeting of the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol), Anwar said the government’s firmness in addressing the issue of rice prices and supplies was evident, leading to a decrease in the market price of imported white rice.

“Prices have dropped by RM3, or by RM2 at some places. Basically, between RM2 and RM3, and that’s a lot for buyers and regular consumers,” he said, Bernama reported.

Regarding the shortage of BPT in the market, Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said the Naccol meeting revealed that the country has 150,000 tonnes of local white rice to distribute but that this was not enough for everyone.

Presently, he said BPT was sold and distributed by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority and the Farmers Organisations Authority at RM26 per 10kg pack.“In reality, our (Malaysian) rice, sugar and crude oil prices are the cheapest in South-East Asia and this fact is not being emphasised,” he said.

On March 19, the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry announced that the retail price of imported white rice would be reduced by between RM2 and RM3. It took effect on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, the Prime Minister said the government would stand firm in ensuring that the people will not be pressured by those out to profiteer, especially on the sale of daily necessities such as rice.

He said the government will continue to be consistent with its approach of re-targeting its subsidies to ensure that they reach only those in need.

“If we know that the bulk subsidy approach used before had also benefited the super-rich and foreign citizens, then why would we want it to continue?

“That’s why subsidies must be re-targeted to the hardcore poor and marginalised communities, and this of course includes the urban and rural poor,” he added. QR Code

Published Date: March 22, 2024

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