Government committed to enhance distribution of local white rice, says PM

PADANG BESAR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has assured that the government is committed to enhancing the distribution of local white rice to the general populace.

Anwar said efforts will be made to ensure agencies such as the Farmers Organisation Authority (LPP) and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) procure local white rice for more organised marketing to target groups.

"Furthermore, starting today, the government has mandated the use of imported rice for all government agencies, including school dormitories, as a step to increase the availability of local rice in the market.

"This measure will, to some extent, bolster the presence of local white rice in the market for the convenience of the general population," he said during his speach at the Madani State Perlis Breaking of Fast Ceremony at the Nurul Huda Mosque in Felda Chuping.

Also present were Perlis Menteri Besar Mohd Shukri Ramli and Felda chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Anwar added that the government is aware of the limited production of local white rice and will take proactive steps to continuously increase its production.

On March 20, a National Action Council on Cost of Living (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, Naccol food cluster task force chairman Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Faisal 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.

Earlier today, Syed Abu Hussin warned the Padi and Rice Regulatory Board has received a final warning to ensure local white rice is available in the market, as directed by Anwar.

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