[UPDATED] Bernas agrees to review price of imported white rice - Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) has agreed to review the price of imported white rice to be sold at a cheaper price, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

This, he said, would provide an alternative for the people to purchase rice at a more affordable price.

He said despite the supply and price of local white rice in the domestic market being under control, the government has received complaints regarding its limited supply.

"The people are also affected by the increase in prices of imported white rice in the global market due to export bans imposed by rice-producing countries," he said.

"The Madani government's intervention is crucial at this time and it needs to be resolved promptly to ensure the issue of supply and prices of essential food items for the people remains stable in the market.

"I also highlighted the importance of enhancing enforcement to ensure the availability of rice in the market and prevent wholesalers or manufacturers from profiting excessively or engaging in the adulteration of content with local and imported white rice to be sold at high prices," he said in a statement.

He said this after chairing the special meeting of the National Action Council for Cost of Living (NACCOL) earlier today.

Anwar added that they had also received suggestions and views from the industry's representative on the country's rice situation, particularly to ensure the availability of rice at reasonable prices for the people.

Results of the engagement session have also been directed to be presented and finalised at the NACCOL Meeting on March 20, before being submitted to the Cabinet, he said.

"After hearing and considering all the views, the meeting resolved the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to lead and coordinate a more detailed engagement session soon.

"This engagement should take into account the price of paddy purchases, supply factors, world rice import prices, the sustainability of local rice supply, and the impact on consumers.

Anwar said the meeting also heard a detailed explanation regarding the proposal for the implementation of Madani White Rice.

Meanwhile, he had requested the expansion of sales programmes such as Jualan Rahmah and Jualan Agro Madani to facilitate the people in purchasing daily necessities including rice at lower prices compared to the market.

"The schedule for the implementation of these sales programmes will be announced regularly," he said.

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