Local white rice issue: Syed Abu Hussin unfazed by critics

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal is standing by his statements on the supply of local white rice, which were deemed by observers as undermining the unity government.

Syed Abu Hussin said it was his duty as the chairman of the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) food cluster task force to identify issues and propose solutions.

The Bukit Gantang member of parliament said he was appointed to head the task force as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was aware of the situation and wanted something to be done to resolve the rice supply issue.

"That is why there is this task force. I am not undermining anyone, but what is the point of having a task force if I cannot do my job?

"I do not report to any minister or committee. I report directly to the prime minister. And if I come to a conclusion on any findings, I will reveal it so that the ministries, agencies and authorities will take action.

"If you need more clarification, or do not agree with what I have said, I am always reachable and ready to engage with you," he told the New Sunday Times today.

Syed Abu Hussin was responding to calls by political observers for the government to prevent him from issuing statements that will hurt the credibility of Anwar's administration.

He also reminded his critics why he was appointed to head the task force.

"Naccol has been operating for some time but the prices of food items continue to increase.

"I was appointed to head the food cluster task force after the prime minister saw how I helped my constituency by organising food sales.

"The prime minister was aware of the burden faced by the people and he wanted something to be done."

Syed Abu Hussin said he feared that the issues on the supply of local white rice and food price hikes would escalate and anger the people.

"The cost of living and prices of food items continue to rise. We must be sensitive to the issues faced by the people. Their anger will make them become 'api dalam sekam' (silent enemies) to the government."

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