PETALING JAYA: A former MCA vice-president has slammed a Melaka executive councillor for threatening to revoke a rice miller’s licence allegedly because he refused to sell local rice at prices set by the government.
“It is bullying and intimidation,” Ti Lian Ker told FMT, when commenting on a video showing Melaka exco member Dr Akmal Saleh’s visit to a rice miller.
In the now-viral video, Akmal, who is also the Umno Youth chief, is seen inspecting rice stocks and documents at the rice miller’s warehouse.
He also admonished the rice miller for allegedly refusing to sell local rice because of the small profit margin.
“Now, you have to listen. If you do not want to do it (pack local rice), tell me, and I will revoke your licence. If you tell me that you are making a loss, I will seize your rice and I will seal your factory,” Akmal said in the video.
Ti said the challenging economic situation affected everyone, including businesses faced with increasing costs.
“As a member of the executive, Akmal should try to understand the challenges businesses face and the problematic policies affecting food security in general,” he said.
He said this included monopolies and unrealistic ceiling prices.
“Threatening and arm-twisting businesses will not solve the problem. We should learn from our experience with the shortage of chicken eggs,” he said.
Last year, the government faced calls to remove ceiling prices for chicken eggs which discouraged suppliers, resulting in a shortage.
At the time, the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia said the rising prices of feed had raised production costs, but the ceiling price for eggs meant that poultry farmers were incurring losses.
Earlier today, businessman Ameer Ali Mydin urged Putrajaya to raise the ceiling price for local white rice to RM34 per 10kg to overcome the supply shortage.
The Mydin hypermarket managing director said local millers were being discouraged from producing the rice because of its current low ceiling price of RM26 per 10kg.