Naccol man issues warning to Padi and Rice Regulatory Board to ensure local rice supply

ALOR STAR: The Padi and Rice Regulatory Board has received a final warning to ensure local white rice is available in the market, as directed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) food cluster task force chairman Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Faisal today said this as the board's director-general, Datuk Azman Mahmood, had given an assurance that 14 million bags of local white rice priced at RM26 for a 10kg bag would be available in the market at any time.

Syed Abu Hussin said the absence of the rice in the market could lead people to view the administration with skepticism.

"The failure of the government machinery, the department that distributes this rice, is apparent, and it has not been functioning for nearly two weeks as promised in the Naccol meeting.

"The chief secretary to the government should replace inefficient officers and correct mismanagement so that it can be implemented quickly.

"This is crucial in the government's delivery system.

"This is the final warning. There is no more time because the given period has passed.

"We do not want to accuse anyone, but if those responsible fail to do their duties, action must be taken against them so that this rice issue can be resolved promptly."

He said after visiting the family of Mohd Fuad Yaacob, the chairman of the Malaysian Padi Farmers Brotherhood Organisation (Pesawah) who died last month here.

Syed Abu Hussin said the Padi and Rice Regulator Board should provide an explanation about the low amount of rice distributed nationwide.

"So we want the board to explain in detail how much rice is available at which mills, and how much has been distributed to which supermarkets, so that people celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri can buy local rice at the affordable price of RM26.

"This is a public issue. People are waiting for the prime minister's decision to be carried out.

"This is not a departmental or divisional issue but a national issue for everyone to see local rice priced at RM26 per bag in the market.

"We are concerned that people will be angry, so we hope this issue will be resolved immediately because it was promised that there would be 14 million bags of it available.

"However, only a fraction of it has arrived. Where has this rice gone?"

On March 20, a Naccol meeting chaired by Anwar had decided on four measures to resolve issues related to padi and rice prices.

They included the immediate processing and releasing of current stocks of padi and rice bought by manufacturers totalling 140,000 metric tonnes into the local market.

Yesterday, Syed Abu Hussin said despite the government's directives to process and distribute the 140,000 metric tonnes of padi and rice, local white rice was still unavailable in many hypermarkets. (hyperlink:

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