Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu is urging members of the public to refrain from panic buying despite the temporary shortage of local white rice
The minister, who is better known as Mat Sabu, advised people to continue buying rice at "normal amounts" following claims that there was local white rice panic buying among consumers, reported New Straits Times.
"I hope everyone would buy rice according to their needs. If you need two bags of rice per month, then only buy two bags.
"If you buy more just to stock up because you hear that there will be no rice next month, then there will be shortages here and there," said Mohammad Sabu after conducting checks at the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority's (FAMA) Agrobazaar in Shah Alam, Selangor today, 21 September.
The purported panic buy of local white rice comes after sole licensed importer Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) raised the price of imported white rice by 36% on 1 September
It is understood that consumers have been opting for cheaper local rice variants since Bernas' announcement.
According to The Vibes, Mohammad Sabu said the spike in imported rice prices is a global phenomenon due to the supply chain disruptions, and neighbours, such as Indonesia, are not spared from facing similar shortages.
"Just do not engage in panic buying. There is adequate rice in the market. There are only pocket areas that are experiencing low supply. The rest have options whether to buy imported rice at elevated prices or opt for locally produced rice," he explained.
To prevent hoarding by unethical wholesalers that would lead to profiteering, Mohammad Sabu said his ministry will be monitoring the market with the enforcement division from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Living Costs.
The Consumers Association of Kedah (CAKE) said they saw no indications of panic buying for local rice by the population. However, Mat Sabu refuted the claims, reported New Straits Times.
"I am the minister, I have seen (incidences of panic buying) and received reports from my officers who have been carrying out their duties excellently," he assured members of the public.
A screengrab from a Buletin TV3 segment on the rising price of imported white rice on 1 September.