Acute shortage of 15 % blend rice: Federation
The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has urged the Government to address the acute shortage of subsidized 15 per cent blend rice in Sabah. Its President Datuk Sen Panglima Sari Nuar yesterday said immediate action must be taken to ensure adequate supply to meet the demand for the rice which is priped at RM1.80 per kilogram. This is necessar.y to avoid disappointment and anger among people who could not afford the 10 per cent blend rice that is priced at RM2.70 per kilo and 5. per cent blend rice at RM2.80 per kilo, he said. In the face of escalating prices of foodstuffs, many people in Sabah could only afford the Government- subsidized 15 per cent blend rice, he said, adding that he has been receiving numerous complaints from consumers. Sari also urged the Government to investigate retailers and importers, and, ensure they do not adulterate the various grades of rice for quick gains at the expense of the people. According to him, it was found recently that certain retailers had re-blended the lower grade rice and sold it at a higher price, hence causing a shortage of the 15 per cent blend rice. This has prompted Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Sen Mustapha Mohamad to order an investigation and stop the malpractice. Meanwhile; Sari expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Datuk Sen Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s announcement of a RM400 million grant for East Malaysia to offset the rising prices of rice. He hoped the recent remedial action taken by the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, together with the RM400 million grant would help to overcome the shortage of 15 per cent blend rice in Sabah. Sari also appealed to retailers and traders to ensure subsidized rice is sold in Sabah, and they should resist any temptation to smuggle out the commodity for bigger profits.