PETALING JAYA: Despite ongoing chatter that the labels on locally grown rice have been switched with those of imported grains, authorities say they have found no evidence of such practices.
“Stringent enforcement measures demonstrate the government’s commitment to protecting the interests of consumers and local rice producers,” said the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry’s Padi Industry Development Division director-general Datuk Azman Mahmood.
He said 348 various cases were reported last year for the ministry’s attention under the Control of Padi and Rice Act and related regulations.
Out of these, he said there were only four instances that involved the sale of local white rice above the regulated price of RM2.60 per kg.
This showed the effectiveness of enforcement efforts, he said.
Kedah-Perlis SPB Malay Rice Millers Association president Marzukhi Othman had suggested to the government that labels for local and imported rice be abolished to overcome the problem of white rice labels being switched.
The “Super Special Local” (SST) and “Super Special Import” (SSI) labels should be removed to avoid middlemen from manipulating them, he said.
“This is because local rice is priced at RM2.60 per kg, while imported rice prices vary based on the market,” he told Bernama.
He said 192 commercial rice-producing factories and 1,495 wholesalers nationwide would be inspected.
Azman added that authorities would also depend on the public to report any cases of local rice being labelled as imported.
He reminded merchants that those caught selling local white rice above the control price could be fined RM25,000 under the law.
– The Star