Legal action will be taken against those found hoarding rice in the country, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister said he had given instructions to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu to ensure that the ministry's enforcement agencies monitored the matter and took action against offenders.
"It is true that the people are complaining about rice, even in Indonesia, President Jokowi said the price of rice has risen because 18 countries that always supply rice have either blocked, stopped or reduced their rice exports, so here there is a demand and supply issue.
"Then there are those who hoard, withhold this rice, if anyone dares to do this at a time when it is difficult for people to get supplies of rice, you better watch out, we will find you and issue summonses and take you to court," he said.
Anwar, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, said this in his speech at the MADANI Unity Mega Ceramah held at Dataran Simpang Pelangai in conjunction with the Pelangai state seat by-election campaign here tonight.
Also present were Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and BN candidate for the Pelangai seat, Datuk Amizar Abu Adam.
Earlier, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu had said the Prime Minister had agreed for four additional interventions to be implemented to resolve the issue of rice supply in the country, including the launching of the Special Integrated Enforcement Task Force for White Rice (OP BPT).
Meanwhile, Anwar who is also the Minister of Finance said the governmment was always looking for avenues to resolve the issue of rice but acknowledged that some time was needed.
“We try, but can the issue be solved 100 percent? No, the issue of rice is a serious issue, therefore I said give it a week and monitor the situation, if not resolved, we will continue discussions before tabling the 2024 Budget on Oct 13.
“That is why we are trying, for rice, we are going to increase the subsidy to a tune of RM400 million for a few months. The rice issue is not limited to the peninsula but Sabah and Sarawak are also affected,” he said when speaking at the ‘Segalanya Felda Carnival’ at Dataran Niaga Felda Chemomoi, here tonight.
Anwar added that the government has decided to channel the subsidy of RM400 million to premises like army camps, police and school hostels to use imported rice, so that there will be more local white rice available in the market.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency