KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — PKR's Rafizi Ramli today urged the government to form a national stockpile and restructure various ministries in response to the rising costs of living and multiple food shortage crisis that has loomed over the country recently.
In a statement released this evening, the PKR deputy president said that the stockpile policy is a tried and proven method used by multiple countries since the 1970s and helps solve national food security and costs of living issues.
“Stockpile policy empowers the Federal Government to purchase and store in bulk food supplies and basic necessities of the society, including petrol and diesel.
“The storage of goods then can be used by injecting them into the market when there is a supply disruption that causes a sharp price increase,” said Rafizi in reference to the current economic situation.
He added that the government could also employ other fiscal instruments to build up the country's stockpile, such as hedging, and purchasing future contracts.
Rafizi also suggested that the government establish an independent 'National Supply and Sustainability Committee' responsible for the stockpile policy and other matters related to food security and living costs.
“This Commission should be accountable to Parliament and monitored closely to prevent the provision from being misused by elements of corruption,” he warned.
Besides that, the newly-elected PKR deputy president urged Putrajaya to streamline ministries and agencies related to food security and cost of living to avoid bureaucracy.
“Ideally, the powers and responsibilities that supervise and enforce policies and laws involving the food chain supply should be centralized to one ministry only.
“Under the current government, the food supply chain is divided into many ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries, Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and countless agencies below them,” he added.
He then attributed this as the reason each policy takes a long time to be implemented because not a single minister is to be held accountable.
“The administration of the country ended up with meetings after meetings that took months because there were too many ministries involved to decide on a single solution,” said Rafizi.