SHAH ALAM, 18 Nov: The central government’s move to privatise Padiberas Nasional Berhad (BERNAS) will threaten the country’s main food source and cause the price of rice to increase while under the control of the company which monopolises the commodity.
The President of the Malay Empowerment Core (TERAS), Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, said that the move to privatise the rice industry only exposes the price of rice to speculation, which can affect the people’s lives.
He said that the federal government should have the power and a stake in the country’s main industry, especially food, because it the basic necessity for Malaysians.
“Privatisation is one thing that should not happen and the central government should intervene and correct the situation so that it is monopolised by only one company,” he said when contacted by Selangor Kini today.
Previously, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim condemned the move by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Bukhari who claimed to fully take over control of BERNAS for his personal gain.
Anwar said that the original intent of the establishment of BERNAS is to protect the interests of farmers and Bumiputera distributors, and this has already failed when the central government allowed the company to be monopolised by certain quarters.
Azmi said that he did not rule out the possibility that the price of rice will increase; like which happened to the increase in sugar price prior to this.
“When a commodity is misappropriated by a cartel or a large company, it will be vulnerable to rising costs because it i When a commodity cartels or misappropriated a large company, it will be vulnerable to rising costs as only concerned with profit.
“We would not be surprised if the price of rice will be returned to the market to determine the price,” he said.