UMNO Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh does not care if certain people do not agree with his decision to go down to the field (turun padang) to alleviate the current shortage of local rice.
The Melaka Executive Council (exco) of Rural Development, Agriculture and Food Security said the frequency of him going down to the field is based on the complaints of the rakyats who are currently facing difficulties in getting supplies of subsidised local rice.
“If you don’t know what the real issue is and the pain of the rakyat, it is better to remain silent than to speak. It makes you look dumb,” Dr Akmal was quoted as saying by Berita Harian today (Sept 27).
“It is my responsibility to look after the interests of the people, not the interests of the ‘big boss’. I don’t care!”
Dr Akmal was responding on the statement made by former MCA vice president Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker who had previously criticised Dr Akmal’s behaviour of threatening to cancel the rice miller’s licence if he did not want to sell local rice at the government-set price.
When commenting on a video showing the Melaka exco member’s visit to a rice miller, Ti had told FMT that Dr Akmal’s actions were akin to “bullying” and “intimidation” and said the threats were downright ugly and uncalled for.
Ti said the challenging economic situation affected everyone, including businesses faced with increasing costs.
“As a member of the EXCO, Akmal should try to understand the challenges businesses face and the problematic policies affecting food security in general,” Ti said, adding that it included monopolies and unrealistic ceiling prices.
“Threatening and arm-twisting businesses will not solve the problem. We should learn from our experience with the shortage of chicken eggs,” the former Teruntum assemblyman said.
On Monday (Sept 25), a 3-minutes-24-seconds video was uploaded onto Dr Akmal’s Facebook page showing the Jasin UMNO division chief inspecting rice stocks and documents at the rice miller’s warehouse.
Dr Akmal stated that if the manufacturer continued to refuse to produce local rice with packets and pricing set by the government, he would not hesitate to revoke the factory’s licence.
He pointed out that manufacturers should not use the small profit margin as an excuse to stop producing local rice.
“Now, you have to listen. If you do not want to do it (pack local rice), tell me, and I will revoke your licence. If you tell me that you are making a loss, I will seize your rice and I will seal your factory,” Dr Akmal said in the video. – Sept 27, 2023