Mat Sabu: “Gov’t will investigate claims of white rice cartels”

THE Agriculture  and Food Security Ministry will investigate the issue of white rice cartels, said its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu. 

Mohamad who goes by the moniker Mat Sabu stated that the government is not ruling out any possibility of the existence of certain parties controlling the supply of white rice, which goes to certain supermarkets in the country.

“I do not want to accuse anyone but we are seriously looking into the matter. The discussion between the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) and the Padi and Rice Monitoring Office (on rice cartel allegations) is also ongoing and all necessary actions will be taken if there is any issue of misconduct.

“It is also not certain whether they are responsible or guilty and that will be decided by the regulatory council so we will wait for the investigation result.”

Moreover, rice cartels have been accused of controlling over 60% of the country’s rice production, causing issues with rice seedlings and the supply of rice, some reports say.

The Coalition of Rice Millers Malaysia chairman Marzukhi Othman claimed that four to five major companies are involved with controlling padi mills, which includes seed production, a local Malay-language portal reported recently. 

He also noted that these cartels wield considerable influence in setting the prices for padi, rice as well as padi seed suppliers, and they have also disregarded government directives at times.

“They have essentially been shaping the direction of the country’s padi industry,” added Marzukhi, emphasising that the existing system needs to be changed by issuing only one licence to them and forcing them to choose between a padi mill licence and a seed production licence. – Jan 21, 2023

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