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Let me add my two cents worth of comments on Bernas. Some 8 or 9 years ago in Ipoh, I was told I could get my supply of rice from Bernas and that this rice will be good quality and cheap. I drove down to the Bernas centre and enquired on a certain brand and was told there was no stock. The storage area was practically empty of rice and out of curiosity enquired from one of the talkative staff why this is so. The gist of the information was, the bulk of the rice stock is send to the wholesale merchants and this is a deal direct from supplier to the merchants and Bernas is only a facilitator or agent. Surprised, I left the place. The rot was there in Bernas for a long time, and now it is out in the open. The CEO or Director should be held responsible.

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Gov’t to subsidise rice price.

Why are we being burdened about rice? Where is the explanation by the government? How could our padi land become gazetted development zones? Is the global demand to be blamed again for our own misfortune? What has the Agriculture Minister to say about the current and future status of our rice stockpile?

Where are the arrests of those who have sold rice above the authorised price? It is a well-known fact that Malaysia is unable to be self-sufficient in rice so it has turned to imports. Bernas was supposed to manage the rice by ensuring a healthy balance of domestic production and imports but instead it has betrayed its trust by raising the price of rice without approval from the government.

This happened during the time of Muhyddin Yassin when he as agricultural minister but he did not come out to condemn the unauthorised price increase nor was any justification provided. Why?

Bernas has leased land to cultivate padi in foreign countries as perhaps importing it into Malaysia is more profitable than increasing our own domestic production. Couldn’t the PM think of this before? Bernas should be dismantled and a transparent policy instituted for an open market with the cake being fairly shared by padi growers, millers and others.

Since it is a controlled commodity the government must be able to dictate a fair margin of profit for padi farmers who have be left at the bottom rung of the economic ladder for far too long while millers and traders exploited the market for their own gains. As always, the workers come last and given the lowest priority over corporate and government interests.

The perils of food shortage in the whole world is real and the worst is yet to come. Malaysia has not been self-sufficient in food production so it is vital that the national agenda be shifted to ensure that home grown food is enough for us to be self-sufficient and that we reduce imports. Why has the government not done this earlier?

Perhaps these imports support many companies, perhaps it is good for the economy and balance of trade with other countries. And all those national priorities for the citizens have been forgotten and instead the government has cared only for the interests of corporate cronies and national economic interests rather than the real threat of being not self-sufficient in domestic food production.

If a government can’t put the interests of the public first, then it has no business to be in authority.

Rice price: What was Bernas doing?

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One Comment

  1. I just bought a 5 kilogram rice packet from giants for almost 20 bucks. Its sad that rice is becoming so expensive that we might have to consider taking some other alternatives in the near future 😦


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