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Anwar told to move Mat Sabu out of agriculture and food security amid Cabinet reshuffle talk
Published on: Thursday, October 05, 2023
By: FMT, Amirul Aiman
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Anwar told to move Mat Sabu out of agriculture and food security amid Cabinet reshuffle talk
MCA has called for Mohamad Sabu to be replaced as agriculture and food security minister, citing his failure to deal with the recent shortages in eggs and rice effectively.
PETALING JAYA: Two analysts have called for Mohamad Sabu to be replaced as the agriculture and food security minister, amid talk of an impending Cabinet reshuffle.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Lee Kuok Tiung said Mohamad proved he was not up to the task for claiming that the price of rice in Malaysia was the cheapest in the region amid pressing issues about food security and the rising cost of raw materials.

Mohamad, commonly known as Mat Sabu, had come to his conclusion by comparing prices in ringgit, which Lee said showed the minister did not fully comprehend the situation.

Lee said comparisons with foreign nations must take into account the strength of their currency.

For example, he said, the ringgit equivalent of the price of rice per kilo in Brunei would definitely be higher due to the strength of the Brunei dollar, making such a comparison misleading.

He also said Mohamad appeared confused about the difference between the price of local and imported rice when explaining that rice-producing countries like India have reduced their exports.

“It is, therefore, crucial for anyone who is appointed to replace him to possess the necessary qualifications and background before assuming the post,” he said.

Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir shared a similar view. He said it was vital that ministers holding specific portfolios have the background expertise to deal competently with issues that may arise.

“We need ministers who are more effective and possess better ideas to tackle the critical issues we are currently facing. To achieve this, we need ministers with appropriate backgrounds,” said Jeniri.

In a statement on Tuesday, MCA called for Mohamad to be replaced, citing his failure to deal with shortages in eggs and rice which have plagued the country recently.

“Not only did he botch preventing these problems from occurring, he (also) failed to address the sharp price hikes in people’s daily essentials,” the statement said.

Second finance minister?

Separately, Jeniri suggested that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim appoint a second finance minister to assist him as he has “too much on his plate”.

“I believe that former second finance minister Johari Ghani has the necessary qualifications for that role, given his  experience,” he said.

The Titiwangsa MP was second finance minister between 2016 and 2018 during the Barisan Nasional administration.

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