Mydin says facing local rice supply shortage, fends off customers’ accusations of hiding stock

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Hypermarket chain Mydin has said that it is also experiencing a shortage in the supply of local rice in its outlets, and said it also has to face accusations by customers that it was hiding its stock of rice.

Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin reportedly said such shortages were not new but claimed that the situation now has become desperate, saying that local rice gets sold out quickly.

“Say in this Mydin USJ Subang, we need at least 1,000 or 2,000 bags of rice per day, but we get less than 50 or 100 bags once every two or three days. There are also suppliers who do not deliver. Already one week also not delivered,” he was quoted saying by news outlet Astro Awani when met at that Mydin outlet yesterday.

Ameer Ali said businesses have to face customers who claim that they are hiding stock of local rice, but said the reality was that the supply of local rice to businesses was less than usual.

“Customers say the minister said ‘there is goods’, can’t be that minister doesn’t know, can’t be the director-general doesn’t know. So we (traders) are the ones blamed.

“Customers thought we are lying but we have no goods. When we look at the back, if the SST rice’s packaging is purple in colour, but there is none. All of the colours are imported rice only,” he was quoted saying. He was referring to the colour of rice packaging which denotes whether it is local or imported rice.

Astro Awani also quoted him as saying that the reality is that the price of imported rice has increased and that this is part of a global phenomenon that cannot be blamed on the government, but said there is a need to help the low-income and mid-income groups — dubbed the B40 and M40 — by giving out financial assistance such as through vouchers.

“Secondly, increase wages, the RM1,500 wage level is very low. I also pay RM1,500 to workers but that is the market,” he said, referring to the current minimum wage level of RM1,500.

“Increase wage levels, the prices of goods will increase slightly but at least people get a bit more money to spend,” he was quoted saying.

On September 5, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu was reported saying that Malaysia’s local rice supply is expected to be restored within a month following the government’s intervention through the Special Local White Rice Programme which was expected to increase local rice production quota by over 20 per cent.

Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, also advised customers to not panic and buy excessive supplies of local rice.

He had also said the ministry is carrying out checks nationwide to ensure the local white rice selling at government-controlled prices of RM2.60 per kilogram is available in the market.

On September 7, Mat Sabu assured that Malaysia’s supply of local white rice was sufficient until next year’s Aidilfitri with the intervention via the special programme to increase rice production.

He reportedly said that Malaysia, where about 200,000 tonnes of rice is consumed every month, has inventories of rice equal to one-and-a-half month’s of consumption.

The ministry’s Paddy and Rice Regulation director-general Datuk Azman Mahmood reportedly said the alleged lack of supply of local white rice in the market was due to customers making purchases in large quantities, adding that this is the reason why the government has imposed a maximum limit of 100kg of local white rice per buyer from September 7 onwards until the situation stabilises.

Based on the latest statistics released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) on September 7, Malaysia has a self-sufficiency ratio of only 62.6 per cent for rice in 2022 which means it still has to rely on other countries to fulfill local demand. Per capita consumption of rice in Malaysia or the average amount consumed per person in 2022 is 77 kilogrammes.