SEREMBAN, Sept 15 — There should not be panic buying for local rice in Negeri Sembilan as there is a sufficient supply of the essential item in the market, said State Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, Climate Change, Cooperatives and Consumerism Committee chairman S. Veerapan.

He said consumers should buy according to their needs as panic buying would cause disruption to the local supply chain.

“The local supply of rice is sufficient, we are trying to limit the purchase to only 10 packets for the 5kg and 10 kg packets,” he told reporters after an inspection at the store of a rice supplier in Kuala Sawah, Rantau here today.

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Veerapan said the state enforcement unit of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN) had conducted 167 inspections under Op Jamin covering supermarkets, mini markets and grocery stores since July 7 and found no case of rice packaging switch from local to imported.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Negeri Sembilan branch of the Padi and Rice Regulatory Office, Irwan Ahmad Rejab said Negeri Sembilan needs 3,500 tonnes of rice per month.

“Consumers do not need to stock up on rice because the supply is always available. We have received six complaints about local rice not being available in the market, and suppliers have been instructed to increase their stock,” he said.

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According to him, one of the factors causing the issue of rice shortage in the state is panic buying with consumers switching to buying local rice following the increase in the price of imported rice.

“Previously, the margin between local rice and imported rice was RM1.50 to RM2. Due to the increase in the price of rice worldwide, the margin is now around RM10,” he said, adding that the government has enforced Regulation 10(1)(b) of the Padi and Rice Control (Wholesaler and Retailer Licensing) Regulations 1996 where each individual and trader is only allowed to buy a maximum of 100 kg of local white rice. — Bernama