KUALA LUMPUR: Enforcement officers from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry will conduct checks on rice millers who are not operating in accordance to the permitted capacity, as stipulated in their licence.
The enforcement officers would also act against rice millers operating illegally.
Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said at least 200 officers from the ministry's monitoring unit would be involved in the checks.
He said the officers also needed to check the state of drying and milling machines at rice mills to ensure that padi were not left idle because the machines could not cope with large quantities of rice produced by farmers.
“We have directed our officers to audit every rice mill. We have to find out why padi processing is slow at some rice mills as long queues will affect the quality of rice,” he told reporters after launching the International Year of Rice 2004 at the Jaya Jusco shopping centre here yesterday.
He also launched a two-month Makan-Makan Beras Tempatan (Eat Local Rice) contest in conjunction with the event.
Muhyiddin said that to date, there were 275 licensed rice millers producing approximately 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice annually.
He said rice millers could be penalised under the Padi and Rice Control Act for failing to abide by the laws and regulations on the production and sale of padi.
He said he directed his officers to prepare a report on their checks so that the ministry could have a proper perspective of the rice industry.
“There are some illegal millers. We need to find out how many and why they are operating illegally,” he said.
The Eat Local Rice contest, aimed at promoting local rice, is offering prizes worth RM1mil, including the multi-purpose vehicle Naza Ria, a Modenas Scooter, holiday packages and electrical appliances.
Consumers will have to purchase one 10kg pack of rice from 16 participating Bernas' brands to participate in the contest.
The brands included Jati, Jati Padi, Rambutan SST 5%, Rambutan Super Tempatan 15%, Jasmine Super 5, Jasmine Super, Bunga Raya, Faiza Emas.
The others are Sakura, Saga, Super 5 Era, Bakul, Bersaku Malaysia, Berasku Petani, Budi and Mayang.
The contest is expected to increase the sale of local rice by as much as 10%.
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