Don't favour cartels, choose monopoly or open market strategy - Wan Ahmad Fayhsal tells govt

25 Sep 2023 11:11pm
Screenshot of Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad's statement via a Facebook post today.
Screenshot of Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad's statement via a Facebook post today.

SHAH ALAM - The government has been urged not to favour cartels in the issue of insufficient rice supply in the market but instead to choose to implement a monopoly or open market.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) deputy youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad said that in this issue, there are two options: implementing an open market to increase supply by opening many factories and wholesalers, breaking the cartel's dominance, and improving market competition.

He said the second option is for the government to fully implement a monopoly because many times the cartel of manufacturers and wholesalers has failed to resolve the issue.

"If the government really wants to take over rice milling and distribution through Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA), do they acknowledge that the cartel cannot handle it even though they have been doing this job for over 60 years? "It is unlikely that the government wants to take over the distribution and processing of local rice because it is the golden goose of the cartels, and the worst they do is hand over some operations, but this time the monopoly is shared by both parties.

"The government must choose one," he said in a Facebook post today.

According to media reports on Friday, Malaysia is not facing a shortage in rice supply, as the country produces 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice annually.

The Padi and Rice Regulatory (KPB) director-general, Datuk Azman Mahmood, said the shortage of local white rice (BPT) in the country is due to increased demand following the rise in the price of imported rice.

Wan Ahmad Fayhsal added that it is surprising when the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry, Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu, asked manufacturers to release 20 per cent of the paddy quota to Bernas because the cartel has never given a share of the golden goose to the government.

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"It makes no sense because the demand for local rice is so high and it would be beneficial to maintain the monopoly.

"Without further explanation, he (Mohamad) said the government would provide additional quotas to Bumiputera wholesalers to increase the supply of local white rice (BPT). Why are they willing to give up the golden goose?" he said.