Next year, the government is contemplating on abolishing by 30% the monopoly of Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) on the rice supply in the nation, in order to permit other industry players entering the market. The Dewan Rakyat was informed about this decision.
Agriculture and Agro based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub commented that this suggestion was received by the ministry in order to lend a solution for Bernas, which would see an end to their license in 2021 as there will be no cartel. However, the government doesn’t want to be impulsive and launch a new model which would be replacing Bernas just because the question of national food security has cropped up. Ayub made this statement in response to a question made by Rusnah Aluai who wanted to understand whether the government had suggested a new National Padi and Rice Authority to take charge from Bernas.
He also said that a committee consisting of representatives from eight ministries who would be headed by Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali would be investigating the introduction of a new model that would change the Bernas monopoly. The ministry is just contemplating on it in the context of sustainable development and growth.
Ayub further commented that abolishing the Bernas monopoly in rice supply, being a responsibility the government had vowed to fulfill, as also promised within the PH election manifesto. He added that the government would continue to fight for the five social obligations with regard to the farmers when Bernas monopoly gets abolished. He even stated that the national production of paddy had not spiked in comparison to other nations because the land under paddy cultivation is only 600,000 hectares in comparison to 10 million hectares in Thailand and 8 million hectares in Vietnam.