ALTHOUGH Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would have scored some “public relations point with his intended audience” by zeroing in on Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary’s rice business and chiding the Bumiputera businessman, he should not be solely targetting the tycoon who controlled Padiberas Nasional Bhd (BERNAS).
“If he’s really serious about breaking up monopolies and unfair concessions, he should not start and stop with just Syed Mokhtar,” veteran journalist and blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin penned in a recent Facebook post.
“There are many more monopolies and oligopolies – some of which dated back to the time when he was Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Finance Minister back in the 1990’s. Surely, he hasn’t forgotten.”
As for the rice industry and food security in general, Anwar should be casting his net wider than just one Syed Mokhtar, according to Kadir.
“His government should look seriously at the neglected agricultural infrastructure. I’m sure the new Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu is familiar with this being a kampung boy like me,” suggested the former UMNO supreme council member.
Anwar has defended his decision to urge Padiberas Nasional Bhd (BERNAS) to allocate up to RM60 mil in funds to assist rice smallholders as part of profit-sharing efforts from the rice monopoly.
Dismissing the notion that he is out to double down on Bumiputera tycoons, Anwar said he had discussed “in good terms” with Syed Mokhtar who agreed to assist the smallholders while BERNAS re-negotiates its existing rice import concession with the Government.
Speaking to the media after he clocked in as the Finance Minister yesterday (Dec 6), Anwar was clarifying on remarks made by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor who claimed that the Tambun MP-elect only dared to reprimand Syed Mokhtar instead of other corporate figures in the country because the businessman is Malay and easily bullied. – Dec 7, 2022