Singular white rice grade: govt not doing a U-turn - Fahmi

KUALA LUMPUR: Clarifying recent speculations, Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil asserted that the government has not reversed its stance on the grading of white rice, saying that the proposal is still under consideration and has not been finalised by the Cabinet.

"At the moment, there has been no notification or discussion in the Cabinet regarding the ruling (one grade of white rice). So it is not a U-turn.

"However, I saw the statement by the chairman of the Task Force (Food Cluster), National Cost of Living Action Council (NACCOL), Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal. It was well intended, he wanted to help reduce the price of goods," he said.

Fahmi, who is also the spokesperson for the unity government and the Lembah Pantai member of parliament, was speaking to reporters after the Lembah Pantai Parliament 'Khatan' ceremony at Masjid Al-Khadijah in Pantai Dalam, here today.

Furthermore, he emphasised the necessity for discussions and coordination within the rice ecosystem, involving entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, and retailers.

In a statement today, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu announced that the government has yet to finalise a decision on the creation of a singular white rice grade for the country, specifically termed Madani Malaysia White Rice.

He highlighted that any announcement or decision made must be guided by the Padi and Rice Control Act 1994 [Act 522] and also be notified to the Cabinet.

The statement was a follow-up to Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz's announcement on Feb 14, where he proposed the consolidation of Local White Rice (SST) and Imported White Rice (SSI) into a single category named Madani Malaysia White Rice.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reported as saying that the issue of price control of rice will be one of the main agenda at the NACCOL meeting next week.

On a separate development, Fahmi said the comprehensive rebranding of the Digital Economy Centre (PEDi) extends beyond a mere name change, encompassing a restructuring of its functions.

He highlighted the necessity of this move, indicating that the rebranding, expected by the second quarter of this year, is based on observations and experiences, revealing that people engage in a variety of activities at PEDi that are not directly related to the digital economy.– BERNAMA

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