KUALA LUMPUR: The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry launched a special nationwide operation to check and screen local rice supplies at factories, wholesalers and retailers over the shortage of the item in the market.
Agriculture and Food Security Deputy Minister Chan Foong Hin chaired the Special Task Force Coordination Meeting for Local White Rice Integrated Operations today together with other agencies including the police, Customs Department, Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry enforcement unit, and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department prior to the special operations.
The operations will be held at 93 factories, 130 wholesalers and retailers where the task force also roped in the Chemistry Department and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute to act as technical agencies that will perform chemical analysis to test the rice samples taken as evidence in the prosecution process.
"A number of matters were agreed upon including the establishment of an Integrated Operations Centre in the ministry and delegation of authority to enforcement agencies under Section 6 of the Padi and Rice Regulatory Act 1994 [Act 522] to carry out inspections at manufacturers and wholesalers of rice and rice throughout the country.
"This operation also includes inspections at national borders and major ports.
"The ministry will take action against any party found to be changing or mixing local rice with imported rice packets, or hiding local rice packets," it said today.
The shortage of local white rice has hit the market for the past few months, causing people to buy the more expensive imported rice.
The government had announced several intervention measures to reduce the people's woes on the price hike of imported rice and the rise in demand of local rice