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Mat Sabu: Authorities to take stern action against manipulation of prices for local white rice, supply will stabilise soon

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

SEBERANG PERAI, Sept 20 — The government will take stern action against the manipulation of the sale of local white rice that led to a shortage in the market, said Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

The minister, also known as Mat Sabu, said his ministry’s Paddy and Rice Regulatory Division is conducting raids as part of its aggressive action to stop any manipulation in the sale of local white rice in the market.

“We are handling this and conducting raids if we receive complaints of local white rice being labelled as imported rice or being sold at above the controlled price,” he told reporters after launching the local white rice intervention initiative at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena, Kepala Batas this morning.

He said stern action would be taken against those found to have sold local white rice above the ceiling price.

Crowds gather at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice under the intervention initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok
Crowds gather at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice under the intervention initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

Crowds gather at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice under the intervention initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

The government had set the ceiling price for local white rice at RM2.60 per kg or RM26 for 10kg.

Mohamad said the enforcement unit under the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry will also be on the ground to check on the sale of local white rice in the market.

Mohamad said individuals can buy up to 20kg each under the intervention initiative but advised the public not to panic buy and hoard the rice.

He assured the public that the shortage of rice will be resolved within a month.

“Rice supply will stabilise in a month,” he said.

Crowds had gathered as early as 7am to form long queues at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice that was being sold after Mohamad launched the initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok
Crowds had gathered as early as 7am to form long queues at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice that was being sold after Mohamad launched the initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

Crowds had gathered as early as 7am to form long queues at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice that was being sold after Mohamad launched the initiative here. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

He said wholesalers and factories are now cooperating to ensure sufficient supply.

“This intervention initiative is a temporary measure for places that faced shortages until supply resumes to normal, much like the chicken and eggs intervention initiative previously that has been resolved,” he added.

He said the sudden shortage of local white rice was due to a price hike for imported rice.

He said the increase in prices for imported rice was a worldwide problem.

Under the local white rice intervention initiative, local white rice will be sold directly through farmers’ organisation authority (LPP) and Federal Agricultural Marketing Board (FAMA).

Crowds had gathered as early as 7am to form long queues at the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena here to buy local white rice that was being sold after Mohamad launched the initiative here.

One of them is retired civil servant Idris Che Med.

The 65-year-old said he couldn’t get any supply of local white rice at supermarkets and sundry shops for over two weeks.

Idris Che Med, 65, came early to get his supply of local white rice for his family of seven. — Picture by Opalyn Mok
Idris Che Med, 65, came early to get his supply of local white rice for his family of seven. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

Idris Che Med, 65, came early to get his supply of local white rice for his family of seven. — Picture by Opalyn Mok

“The imported rice available was at RM50 and above, we can’t afford that,” he said.

He said a 10kg sack of rice can only last his family of seven about two weeks.

“Luckily we had spare rice at home so we’ve been eating that in the last two weeks,” he said.

A total of 20,000kg of local white rice was being sold in the Farmers’ Outlet in Pokok Sena.