Rice supply: Extension of enforcement authority only if situation critical, says Mat Sabu

SHAH ALAM: The Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry's intention to seek an extension of enforcement authority to its personnel to address rice supply issues should be brought up for discussions with the relevant authorities, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister said, however, that such a measure is only applicable if the supply reaches critical levels and there was no need to implement it now.

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"If it reaches a critical level, perhaps we will also involve the Royal Malaysia Police. However, at this moment, it has not reached a critical level.

"InsyaAllah, when padi crops in the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) area are harvested, which is currently over 20%, we expect the local rice supply will be available in the market as it should be,” he told reporters after visiting a grocery store in Jalan Kebun Seksyen 30 here to check on the distribution of local white rice on Thursday (Sept 21).

Acting Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali was reported as saying that he hoped that the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry could consider the extension of authority to its personnel to tackle issues related to rice supply.

ALSO READ: Local white rice supply expected to stabilise within a month, says Mat Sabu

Meanwhile, Mohamad urged the public to come forward if they have proof of hoarding of local rice or the switching of local rice packaging to imported rice so that the authorities can take action.

"If you have proof, please inform us. So far, it’s just rumours and we haven’t come across any official evidence,” he said.

Commenting on the commotions that occurred in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan and Bagan Datuk, Perak on Wednesday (Sept 20), Mohamad said the ministry will hold urgent discussions with manufacturers and wholesalers to increase local white rice supply to the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) and Farmers’ Organisation Authority (LPP) branches to prevent the incident from recurring.

ALSO READ: Uncertain weather, disease among factors for local white rice shortage

He said the uproar occurred due to insufficient rice supply at the two locations, leading to dissatisfaction among some customers who had to wait for a long time.

Mohamad ordered the local white rice supply to be immediately delivered to all supermarkets, not just to Fama and LPP branches.

He also advised the public not to engage in panic buying and maintain their rice stock to avoid disruptions. - Bernama

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