KUALA LUMPUR: The outcome of talks between the Malaysian and Indian governments on the country's white rice export restrictions will be known this week, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.
“Seeing how India is currently having elections in six states, and other issues, the Indian government said it was better to hold discussions with the country’s ambassador to Malaysia for now,” said the Agriculture and Food Security Minister.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also previously contacted his counterpart Narendra Modi to discuss India's white rice export restrictions.
“Their ambassador also came to the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry and discussed the matter with me. Our requests will be answered later this week,” said Mohamad.
“Our government-to-government (G2G) relations with India are good. God willing we will get a favourable result,” he added when speaking at a press conference here on Monday (Oct 2).
Mohamad was responding to a question on the outcome of talks held between both governments over India’s white rice export restrictions.
On Sept 29, Mohamad said talks were held with representatives of the Indian government over the issue, adding that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent representatives to discuss the issue on a G2G basis.
To a question on whether the scarcity of local white rice was due to mills not wanting to produce rice due to the low ceiling price and small profit margins, Mohamad said it was instead due to consumer behaviour.
“There is no shortage. Consumers shifted from imported white rice to local options due to the cheaper prices offered,” he said.
He said the government would also study the needs of those involved in the rice supply chain from time to time, including increasing the ceiling price of local white rice.
The current price of local white rice is at RM2.60 per kilogram and was implemented in 2018.