If there are cartels and politicians working hand-in-hand, what should the government do?

IT has become obvious that some hidden hands are involved in the rising cost of living, especially since the Madani government was formed.

Whereas in the past, cost of food only rose during festive seasons, now it has become almost a trend. First, there was a shortage of chicken eggs and prices of eggs shot up. Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu was criticised.

Nothing that the minister who is better known as Mat Sabu did seems right with his critics. When he tried to source eggs from India, he was ostracised by some netizens. Even the government was accused by Perikatan Nasional (PN) information chief Datuk Seri Azmin Ali of awarding the project of import eggs from India to businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

PMX the main target

This was then followed by the shortage of sugar – and now – local rice. It did not take much guessing to suspect that some cartels are involved, perhaps alongside with politicians who are attempting to force Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) to step down. Anwar has always been the main target of criticism.

Despite all the efforts that the PMX is doing to help the paddy farmers, they tend to turn against him when they are not benefiting from his efforts. Any strategist would be able to tell you that in order to de-stabilise a government of the day, hit its food security first.

Ordinary people on the street will start to revolt when they are hungry – and a hungry and angry mob will inevitably try to overthrow any government.

Therefore, if we are watchful enough, we will see the trend of the various food shortages happening one after another today instead of being gullible to the lies and propaganda that the Madani government has failed to address the shortages.

Instead, we see how the various ministries are working hard to jointly solve the issues of national food security. While the special task force raids on rice mills allegedly hoarding the local rice, the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry works at the distribution channel to ensure that the people get the supply of rice.

Paddy farmers are astute

Malaysiakini has reported that it did not take very long for the paddy farmers in Kedah to realise that “the steep drop in the price that manufacturers are buying paddy from them (may allegedly) be due to manipulation.

That is only an allegation but unless the evidence is there to substantiate the suspicion, anyone could be accused of rumour-mongering or even been sued for defamation.

Thankfully, immediately after Pertubuhan Persaudaran Pesawah Malaysia – the NGO representing these paddy farmers – highlighted their plight, the Op BPT (local white rice) task force led by Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister Chang Foong Hin to investigate rice shortage has confiscated some 180 metric tonnes of local white rice estimated to be worth RM405,000 in an unlicensed warehouse.

This is probably only the tip of the iceberg. The Op BPT special task force which comprises the police, and officers from the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry and the Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS) depends on tips provided by whistleblowers.

Will Sanusi sue MACC?

Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor

The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has also claimed that it has uncovered what Free Malaysia Today reported, as “a fraudulent scheme involving a rice supply company in Kedah which has disrupted the distribution and sale of the nation’s staple food”.

FocusM is not in a position to form any opinion as it is not privy to the evidences that the MACC may have obtained based on their investigations.

However, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has since claimed that it was an old piece of news dated back in 2016 and warned individuals and entities not to accuse the said state government-linked company (GLC) of any involvement in a RM100 mil rice supply scam.

This is something to be watched closely whether MACC would be sued for making such a claim unless it is able to substantiate with evidence.

Severe punishment

If the trend is allowed to continue where cartels working closely with hidden hands to bring about food shortages in the county, this threat to food security alone will eventually destroy the country. It is the rakyat that will suffer.

At the end of the day, what the Madani government is seeking to do for the people will not be appreciated. Instead, the people become incensed by the Opposition to topple the government. This is how propaganda works to exploit the lack of official communication from the government.

The mastermind behind the cartels must be identified along with their operatives and brought to face the charges for all the woes that they inflict on the people. There is no mercy for these cartel leaders – whether politicians or businessmen – who show no concern about the plight of the lower- and middle-income groups. – Oct 12, 2023

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