KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) agreed to top up another 150,000 tonnes of imported rice to ensure no break in its supply in the country.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister Chan Foong Hin said the additional rice import was decided during its engagement session between the ministry and Bernas last week which found higher demand for the staple food in the market now compared to last year.

“The government frequently holds engagement sessions directly with Bernas to ensure the issues of the industry are dealt with quickly.

“Therefore, the possible shortage of rice as raised in the Chinese media is inaccurate. In the current situation, retailers are facing lower domestic rice supply and they will import more rice via Bernas,” he said.

He was speaking at the winding up of the debate on the Auditor-General’s Report Series 2 at Dewan Rakyat today in reply to Khoo Poay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) who wanted to know the measures taken by the government to ensure an adequate supply of rice for the people.

While touching on the 30 per cent profit sharing of rice imports to rice farmers, Chan said it was not part of the 10 social obligations contained in the company’s concession agreement with the government.

“This is one of the proactive steps taken by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his negotiations with Bernas to assist padi farmers... we welcome the proposal to include the matter as one of the social obligations after being finalised by the ministry.

“The ministry is still in the process of finalising the detailed mechanism for the implementation of this 30 per cent profit sharing and will make an announcement once it is resolved,” he said. — Bernama