[Updated] Anwar sets deadline for action on padi and rice prices

KUALA SELANGOR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has given the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) until March 20 to resolve issues related to padi and rice prices.

He said the country risked experiencing food security problems if padi farmers changed their farming to other plants to increase their income.

"I spoke with the Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) management at the recent Naccol meeting to find a way to import rice and increase local rice production.

"Padi farmers are among the poorest groups in our country.

"People want rice prices to drop or be controlled, but padi farmers want their produce to be valued.

"This means that if farmers don't want to grow padi and switch to something else for more income, the country would face food security risks.

"Food security depends on padi farmers, so the government must balance theirs and the public's needs.

"I have given a deadline to the ministry and Naccol to finalise the issue, especially the price of rice, by March 20."

He said this at the Central Zone Madani Rakyat Programme here today.

Meanwhile, he urged the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry to increase the number of Rahmah Sales and Agro Madani Sales events.

"I have directed the minister, Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali, to ensure that there are more of these events.

"Also, Agro Madani also needs to be boosted, so the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry must work with fishermen and farmers to reduce the prices of goods.

"So whatever problems are raised by the people, for example, about the cost of living and food security, the Agriculture Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry will take action to tackle these problems.

"But we can also take immediate action to deal with people's complaints, and that's why we have Agro Madani, Jualan Rahmah and Jualan Madani events, which all offer lower prices."

Anwar expressed his gratitude to government agencies and small traders who helped to make these events a success.

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