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Confusion over ‘Madani white rice’ exposes govt flaws, says economist
Published on: Saturday, February 17, 2024
By: FMT, Amirul Aiman
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Confusion over ‘Madani white rice’ exposes govt flaws, says economist
Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak said the ambiguity indicates a clear miscommunication within the government.
PETALING JAYA: An economist has criticised the government for making conflicting statements about “Madani white rice” after government spokesperson Fahmi Fadzil said the matter is still being addressed, despite Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim having approved the introduction of the product.

Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak said the ambiguity could lead to consumer uncertainty about the price of white rice.

“It indicates a clear miscommunication within the government and a lack of unity in its planning to address issues such as rice prices.

“Now, consumers have already started to worry because the minimum price of white rice will be RM30 for 10kg, an increase of 15% from RM26,” he told FMT.

On Wednesday, Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal, chairman of the national cost of living action council, said Putrajaya decided that the Malaysia Madani white rice will be the country’s sole category of white rice.

He added that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had approved its introduction. However, Fahmi later indicated that the council would revisit the topic at a forthcoming meeting chaired by the prime minister.

Yesterday, agriculture and food security ministry secretary-general Lokman Hakim Ali said there has been no discussion or approval from the government about Malaysia Madani white rice.

Lokman said the price of local white rice, as a controlled food item, must be approved by the Cabinet before it can be announced.

Syed Hussin said Malaysia Madani white rice would go on sale from March 1 at RM30 for a 10kg bag, RM15.50 for 5kg and RM3.50 for 1kg.

Existing white rice could be sold until stocks run out, but must bear the “Madani white rice” price sticker.

Mydin hypermarket managing director Ameer Ali Mydin said the government should not interfere with branding white rice and that it should be left for the businesses to decide.

“Each business will have its strategy to get the market share. That’s what makes business interesting,” he said, pointing out that sugar is price controlled but is not labelled “Madani.”

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