30% of the country’s rice needs are imported and it is monopolized by Bernas. A rice import monopoly by only one Sdn Bhd company owned by a corporate figure may affect the country’s food security.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Monday, 05 Dec 2022 4:39 PM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim revealed today that he spoke to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary about the latter’s perceived monopoly of rice import through national rice company Bernas (Padiberas Nasional Berhad).
Anwar claimed at a press conference held after a special Cabinet meeting earlier this afternoon that he had “reprimanded” the billionaire, but stopped short of revealing details of the purported conversation.
The country’s tenth prime minister, who is also the finance minister, has vowed to carry out his reform agenda fully and said among his top priorities would be to break existing monopolies over supply chains by politically-connected elites.
“I had spoken to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and he had been reprimanded because he monopolises rice imports,” Anwar said.
“He must know that this import permit is not a concession and not a form of reward for him, but instead given to Bernas,” the prime minister added.
Bernas controls 30.6 per cent of the local rice market in which it imports rice from countries such as Thailand, Myanmar to meet local demand, according to a report by The Edge.