Rice mill allegedly hoarding 180 metric tonnes of local rice busted

ALOR SETAR – Authorities confiscated 180 metric tonnes of local white rice hidden in a rice mill in the state worth an estimated RM405,000, during Op Beras Putih Tempatan (Op BPT) yesterday.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Chan Foong Hin said an inspection at the mill found 180 metric tonnes of Local Super Special 5% (SST5) or local white rice (BPT) concealed in undisclosed storage inside jumbo containers.

“For now, the mill’s location or company name cannot be disclosed to prevent any interference with the ongoing investigation. This is the first seizure made under Op BPT.

“I was informed that the Paddy and Rice Regulatory Division (KPB) conducts routine operations consistently. Last Saturday, KPB also carried out an operation and confiscated rice at a mill here,” he told reporters after participating in a monitoring operation at a rice mill here today.

The case is currently being investigated under the Control of Paddy and Rice Act 1994 (Act 522) and the Paddy and Rice Control Regulations (Licensing of Rice Mills) 1996, he added.

He also warned the relevant parties to comply with the established laws and emphasised that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) and task force members will take strict action against those found violating existing regulations.

So far, the OP BPT task force has conducted inspections on eight rice wholesalers and six rice manufacturers in this state to detect any activities of hoarding rice, changing packaging, and mixing local white rice with imported white rice, he added.

Commenting on rice farmers’ requests in the state for higher paddy purchase prices from manufacturers, Chan said his ministry understands the issues faced by them and always seeks solutions to address the problem.

However, any adjustments to the paddy purchase price must align with the retail prices charged on consumers to prevent losses to wholesalers and manufacturers, he added.

Addressing the proposal from some parties to raise the Paddy Price Subsidy Scheme (SSHP) rate, Chan said the new government had recently increased it from RM360 per metric tonne to RM500 per metric tonne in August.

“To increase the rate in the immediate future would not be easy, so we will explore other options to meet the needs of all parties and stakeholders in this industry,” he said. – BERNAMA