Letter to editor
THE suggestion by UMNO Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh that local white rice should only be sold to Malaysians as a temporary measure to address the shortage of local white rice in the market merits consideration.
The lack of local white rice in the market has pushed its price up, thereby adding on the financial burden of the public who already are enduring heightened expenses in the cost of living.
When restrictions or bans are placed upon certain groups from purchasing locally produced white rice, this will increase the presence of local rice in the market, thereby enabling its accessibility to more Malaysians, in particular, low-income households.
The hesitance by Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu to address the proposal but instead – shot it down – on the grounds that “foreigners have to eat too” is a simplistic approach.
Government hospitals impose higher deposits and ward admission charges unto non-Malaysians although health issues requiring medical treatment knows no differentiation between Malaysian citizens and foreigners despite the latter’s “work and services here also contribute to the development of our country”.
“Charity begins at home” – as the adage goes. It is alright to extend help to neighbours and strangers but please do ensure that the pressing needs of our own Malaysians are resolved earlier.
Datuk Nicole Wong Siaw Ting is the MCA National Youth chairman.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.