KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition has urged the government to stop the intended legal action against a coalition of NGOs representing rice farmers known as Padi Rescue.
Opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said so far 83 opposition MPs, including eight from PAS, one from PSM and one independent, had signed the petition to publicly scrutinise the performance and public role of Bernas.
“We call for immediate action to be taken against Bernas and call for the recognition of the rights of anyone to scrutinise and question the performance of Bernas, which was set up to replace the National Padi and Rice Board (LPN), which was managing the national rice industry from 1994.
“We condemn the current action taken by Bernas to intimidate and silence Padi Rescue by issuing them threats of legal action.
“We hold that the production of rice, being an important essential food item, should not be monopolised, profited or controlled by any single and commercially-owned individual or company,” she said at a press conference at Parliament here today.
Wan Azizah urged the government to take immediate steps to stop Bernas from initiating legal action against Padi Rescue in connection with its memorandum submitted to the prime minister on Oct 20, 2017.
“We call for the re-establishment of LPN to return the public functions mandated to Bernas, which are due to expire in 2021, in order to protect the national rice industry.”
Also at the press conference was PKR Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung, PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, Amanah’s Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, PKR’s Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul, PSM’s Dr Michael Jeyakumar and DAP’s Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen.
It was reported that Padi Rescue representative Fitri Amir claimed LPN was more efficient than Bernas and padi farmers were now facing high costs.