PETALING JAYA: Poor families in Malaysia will soon be given rice of an even lower grade unlike the poor living in other Asean countries who consume top grade rice, says PKR lawmaker Gooi Hsiao Leung.
In a statement issued, the Alor Setar MP criticised the Ministry of Agriculture for not implementing the MyBeras programme announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier this year.
“The implementation of the MyBeras programme – slated for launch in March 2016 for a period of one year – has now been postponed twice.”
He pointed out that Agriculture Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek had at the time spoken passionately about how he was vehemently against feeding poor Malaysians low quality, broken grade rice.
“Shabery cited examples of how the poor in Thailand and Vietnam get to eat good quality Thai and Vietnam rice, and questioned why we feed the poor in our country poor quality, broken quality rice.
“Yet just seven months later, it has come to my attention that his Ministry is mulling the introduction of a new rice subsidy scheme to replace the ST15% broken rice programme, proposing a new 25% broken grade rice, a quality unfit for human consumption,” Gooi pointed out.
Gooi also alleged that he had learned from “sources in the rice industry” that the Agriculture Ministry had told them that it had allegedly decided to cancel the implementation of the MyBeras programme altogether.
“I urge the Agriculture Minister, Shabery Cheek, to publicly answer the following issues which require the Minister’s immediate response. Has the government decided to cancel the MyBeras programme altogether?
“If my sources are wrong, (tell us) what is the date for implementation, without further government delay.”
Gooi told Shabery to stop his “conceited and harebrained idea” to introduce 25% broken low quality grade rice to the public to replace the ST15 national rice subsidy programme.
“I wish to remind the government that they have a responsibility to implement the MyBeras programme as promised by the PM to help our nation’s most vulnerable families living in extreme poverty.”