Selangor Journal
Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad on 13 November 2022 at the Ecoworld Square in Puncak Alam. — Picture by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM/SELANGORKINI

Don’t ‘distort’ rice market with rigid pricing mechanism — Kuala Selangor MP 

By Danial Dzulkifly

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has called on the government to avoid “distorting” the natural market dynamics surrounding the supply and demand of rice in Malaysia.

The former minister voiced concerns over the government’s approach of imposing strict floor and ceiling prices for local white rice, warning that such a strategy could upset the market’s balance.

“I urge the government to prioritise flexibility over rigidity. When determining floor and ceiling prices for rice, a more agile approach is essential. 

“Our historical interventions have, on occasions, led to market distortions,’’ he said when debating on the local white rice supply in Parliament today.

Dr Dzulkefly also warned of the repercussions of such market imbalances, noting that they could lead to unexpected behaviours such as hoarding and trade cartels. 

This is especially when traders attempt to maintain profit margins while offloading additional costs onto consumers.

“I’m not implying that the ceiling or floor prices should be left entirely unchecked. However, I emphasise the need for the government to conduct regular evaluations, integrating feedback from all relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Dr Dzulkefly said the government should consider external factors, such as climate change and global conflict, in their assessments when determining prices, while stressing on the importance of timely intervention. 

Today’s debate comes in light of disruptions in local white rice supply due to more consumers purchasing the locally-produced goods following a spike in imported rice price, after several countries banned exports. 

Previously, the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry announced that the retail price for local white rice remains capped at RM2.60 a kg, adhering to the provisions of the Rice Act (Grade and Price Control) Order (Amendment No. 4) 2008 and the Paddy and Rice Control Act 1994. 

Currently, the price limit is set at RM26 for a 10kg bag.

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