Sunday, July 08, 2007

No Rise in Price of Rice

I was appalled when I read the announcement by Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) earlier in the week that they had increased the price of wholesale rice by 5 and 10 sen per kg for white rice, fragrant rice and basmati and 20 sen increase for glutinous rice.
Bernas cited the rising handling cost and fuel price that had resulted in an increase of between 20 and 50 per cent in shipping cost in the first six months of the year.
The price increase was effective July 1.
Bernas is the country's sole rice importer.
I am sure many Malaysians were angered by this. It seems like everyone is conveniently justifying price increases with fuel hike.
But, surely not the people at Bernas. Not rice. Not the rakyat's staple food.
It seemed unfair and unjustifiable for Bernas to be raising the price of rice.
I'm not an economist but I thought surely they could do better than that. Surely they could work something out without having to pass the price increases to consumers.
I wanted to immediately blog about it. But then, there was a swift response from Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who said that he had summoned Bernas officials to his office to give an explanation early next week.
He said he wanted to know why the prices were increased now, as they had long been stable.
Obviously he was in the dark about the whole thing because he said he was concerned that the ministry was not consulted.
"This will affect everyone as it is our staple food," he was quoted to have said.

And today Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government has no intention of raising the prices of rice.
Bully for the government.
Najib was quoted by Bernama as having said that such an action would have far-reaching implications as rice is an essential commodity and higher prices would impose a burden on the people.

Now, didn't this cross the minds of the Bernas guys?
At all?

Also, read Rocky's Bru on this. Click here.


Maverick SM said...

The government had denied openly that they had not raised the price of local rice except for imported ones. That's a big lie. I can prove it as my family had bought local rice at 10% higher price then before.

Why do the ministers need to deny what had been the truth? Just go to any hypermarket and you will know the truth.

Anonymous said...

The whole lie, nothing but the lies. The minister concerned said only imported rice but it a lie. Just go into any shops, be it retail shops of supermarkets, one will be blind if they are unable to notice the increased proudly displayed. Ii is rice for me for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.

Faten Rafie said...

usually when they start denying, that's when it's really going to happen!

btw, did you ever notice that when ever harga tepung naik, always & without fail, harga roti canai jadi benchmark, why huh? It's not like roticanai is makanan asasi seluruh rakyat malaysia, why not check on bread - roti buku, roti benggali, isn't this quite a staple among the children?

so how enforcement dah tak raid kedai roti canai & teh tarik... next on their list will be gerai nasi lemak.

Rockybru said...

the chinese papers reported the increase early last week. poor bernas. if they arent allowed to increase the price, its bottomline will surely suffer. if they raise the prices, the people - especially the low-income Malaysians - will suffer greatly. Najib has been placed in a lose-lose position. one way out is to announce a reduction in the price of petrol and diesel, the root of this problem here as cited by bernas when it announced the increase in prices. if bernas can't raise the price of our staple diet, how come the government could with the price of fuel, toll, and utilities?