PETALING JAYA: The proposal to increase the ceiling price of local white rice to RM3.40 per kg has been shot down by the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.
In a response to the proposal made by local hypermarket chain Mydin's managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin, the ministry said that the ceiling price of the local white rice would remain regulated at RM2.60 per kg.
"With regards to the proposal to increase the price of local white rice, the ministry wishes to clarify that the retail price of local white rice remains at RM2.60 per kg as stated under the Rice (Price and Grade) Order 2008 as well as the Control of Padi and Rice Act 1994," it said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 28).
On Sept 27, Ameer Ali Mydin was quoted calling on the government to increase the ceiling price for local white rice to RM34 per 10kg to overcome a shortage in its supply.
“This move would improve cost structures for producers and help alleviate shortage. It’s a better solution than trying to maintain the price at RM26 (since) supplies still run dry,” he said.
On the ministry's decision to give permission for the purchase of imported white rice at a wholesale price of RM160 per 50kg (warehouse gate price) to restaurant groups, food operators and small vendors, the ministry clarified that it was aimed at assisting them in obtaining imported white rice at wholesale prices for their businesses.
"Through this method, businesses can control operating costs and ensure that the selling price of rice is not increased," said the ministry.
"At the same time, this effort is also intended to stabilise the supply of local white rice by reducing bulk purchases by restaurant operators, food businesses, and small vendors for household use," it further noted.
In this regard, the ministry said that it has taken these measures to balance the demand for rice for business purposes and household consumption during the current high-demand period for local white rice supplies.
"This agreement was reached through consultations between the ministry and restaurant associations, food operators, and small vendors on Sept 15," it said
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu had announced that the ministry expected the shortage of local white rice supply in the market to stabilise within a month following various intervention measures and continuous monitoring from the government.
Mohamad said that the ministry's engagement session with the country's rice industry players involving manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers agreed to give a commitment to realise the implementation of the Local White Rice Special Programme (PKBPT) nationwide.