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(From left) Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor Princess Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at Central Kitchen Mutiara Food Bank in George Town, Penang, today. Pix by NSTP/Danial Saad

GEORGE TOWN: A special bill to regulate the Food Bank Malaysia programme is being drawn up and is expected to be tabled in Parliament at the end of next year.

The bill serves to protect recipients and donors.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the bill was similar to those of France, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and other countries, but had been fine-tuned to fit Malaysia.

He said the situation was different here, owing to the sensitivity of the halal issue.

“I have raised this in the Cabinet meeting. We are in the midst of drawing up the bill,” he said at the launch of the Food Bank Malaysia programme, here, today.

“We will then refer the matter to the attorney-general for the next course of action.

“We expect the earliest we can table the bill in Parliament is at the end of next year.”

Saifuddin said the bill was needed because there was concern among donors that some of the food items they contribute might lead to issues later on, even though they are doing it for a good cause.

Saifuddin said the Food Bank Malaysia programme would be rolled out nationwide beginning next year.

He said the “central kitchens” would be located in major towns to facilitate logistics arrangements.

On a separate matter, Saifuddin said the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) was probing whether the recent shortage of eggs was due to the existence of egg cartels.

“MyCC is also looking into whether there is a fight for territory or other forms of manipulation,” he said.

Yesterday, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin said there was amply supply of eggs until Chinese New Year next February.

He also said that egg prices had stabilised following intervention by the government.

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