Rep: Look into claims of subsidised rice hoarding

MIRI: The Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) ought to take serious note of claims that retailers were stockpiling subsidised rice.

Political secretary to the chief minister Ripin Lamat, who highlighted this, said there had been complaints that some retailers in the city had been hoarding the commodity.

Through the public complaints, they claimed that some traders stockpiled the subsidised rice and only sell it during peak period, especially when foreign plantation workers come to town to buy grocery.

The hoarders allegedly sell the subsidised rice at higher price up to RM24 per 10kg to the foreigners while the price set by the government is only RM18, Ripin, who is also Lambir state assemblyman, said yesterday.

From the feedback he gathered from the public, he said the retailers would only display the controlled commodity for sale when the plantation workers came to the city from the estates to buy grocery, especially during middle and at the end of the month.

Thus, he urged MDTCC to investigate the matter as well as to monitor the prices of other controlled items immediately.

We hope for MDTCCs cooperation to conduct inspection at the retail shops as well as to gather feedback from the public directly and not only take action based on official report made to the ministry, he stressed.

Meanwhile, MDTCC Miri chief Alexander Averon Suwin, when contacted by The Borneo Post on the matter, said his enforcement team had not received any report on the hoarding issue.

Members of the public who know of such cases should make a report at our office or call 085-412862 or make online report through the ministrys website for us to take action and carry out investigation, he added.

After receiving the report, he said the ministry would then liaise with Bernas (Padiberas National Berhad) to conduct investigation.

He explained that subsidised rice is meant to ease the burden of the low income group and is strictly not for commercial use such as by restaurants or hotels.

The ministry will take stern action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 against any retailer who purposely stockpiles the controlled commodity and sells it at a price exceeding the set ceiling price which is at RM18 per 10kg, he stressed.