NACCOL man claims supply of local white rice still limited

KUALA LUMPUR: A National Cost of Living Action Council (NACCOL) member has claimed the supply of white rice in the market is still limited despite the government's instruction of 140,000 metric tonnes of padi and rice to be processed for sale.

Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Faisal, who heads the NACCOL food cluster taskforce, said 140,000 metric tonnes is equivalent to 14 million packets of local white rice.

However, he said checks at 173 supermarkets and other premises across the country found that only seven premises had a supply of local white rice, and even then in limited quantities.

"This shows that the issue surrounding the supply of local white rice persists despite the government's decision (to release padi and rice stocks), eight days ago.

"I am puzzled by such a situation. Local white rice is supposed to account for 60 per cent (of domestic consumption) with the remaining being imported white rice."

The Bukit Gantang member of Parliament questioned the effectiveness of the government's delivery system to ensure the supply of white rice in the market.

He added that it is now the responsibility of Padi and Rice Regulation director-general Datuk Azman Mahmood to explain the failure and what happened to the 140,000 metric tonnes of local white rice that was supposed to be distributed into the market.

Syed Hussin said Azman should also reveal which millers were involved in processing the padi.

He said a failure to resolve the issue could affect public perception of the government.

On March 19, the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry announced several solutions to stabilise the supply of local white rice in the market.

This included reducing the retail price of imported white rice by between RM2 and RM3 beginning, as well as ordering the release of 140,000 metric tonnes of padi and rice.

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