KUALA SELANGOR, Feb 25 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he has set March 20 as the deadline for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol) to address the issues of rice supply and prices in Malaysia.

However, he said such matters must be decided with care and consideration.

“I spoke with Padiberas Nasional Bhd’s (Bernas) at the recent Naccol meeting asking them to find ways to reduce imported rice and increase local production,” he said during a dialogue session at the closing ceremony of the Central Zone Madani Rakyat programme in Kuala Selangor Sports Complex.

Anwar explained that there were opposing interests at either end of the issue, with high prices burdensome to consumers while low prices would be detrimental to the livelihoods of the rice farmers.

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“So, there is a need to strike a balance because rice farmers are among the poor groups in our country.

“While people generally want the price of rice to drop or be controlled, rice farmers want their output to be valued,” he said.

On February 23, Naccol Food Cluster Task Force chairman Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal said Anwar has asked the council to meet every week till March 20 to look for a solution to the rice issue during the Naccol’s Special Meeting 2024.

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