PUTRAJAYA, Feb 20 — The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDN) is ready to investigate if there is evidence of cartel activities in the country’s rice industry, said its minister, Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

He said the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is always open to taking appropriate action if information related to the matter can be channelled to them.

“Since the enactment of the Control of Padi and Rice Act 1994, the regulatory authority concerning the padi and rice industry has fallen under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM).

“However, if there are any concerns about the existence of a rice cartel, the KPDN, especially the MyCC, is open to the KPKM or any other party channelling any information to the MyCC,” he told the media after attending a Consumer Empowerment Initiative dialogue session here today.

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He said this when asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s statement that the proposal to implement the Malaysia Madani white rice initiative could help curb the country’s rice industry from being controlled by cartels.

Yesterday, Anwar said that the proposal to implement Malaysia Madani white rice would be studied and discussed in more detail at the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) meeting on Friday.

In a separate development, Armizan said the ministry planned to increase the number of MyCC investigators, which currently stands at only 17, and the number of KPDN enforcement officers from the current 2,200.

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“We are aware of the government’s fiscal constraints regarding new appointments but are looking to strengthen our enforcement by filling existing positions. We have proposed this to the Public Service Department.

“The demands on MyCC are increasing. Under Budget 2024, an additional allocation of RM10 million was approved for MyCC, and we will use part of it to enhance investigative aspects within MyCC,” he said. — Bernama