Thursday, October 18, 2012

Noh admits failure in distribution of subsidised rice

Thursday, 18 October 2012 07:14

Agriculture and Agro-based minister Noh Omar has admitted weaknesses in the government’s method of distributing subsidised rice to companies which were granted quotas.
At the Dewan Rakyat today, Noh said his ministry was in the process of studying a new mechanism.
“We are looking for new ways that are more beneficial,” he said.
PAS's Pokok Sena member of parliament Mahfuz Omar interjected Noh, asking him to reveal companies which received subsidised rice.
The Auditor General in its 2011 Report said it detected rice produced under the Rice Subsidy Programme, a joint venture between Noh’s ministry and BERNAS, was sold in open market and failed to reach the target groups.
Mahfuz said the programme was perceived “to benefit suppliers more than the people”.
“I have said earlier that the government must review this. Why not just give five percent subsidy, and everyone can buy without companies taking profits?” he added.
Noh said he had no problem with Mahfuz's request to reveal the companies involved, on one condition.
“I can give the list of companies, but YB [Mahfuz] must promise to tell which company is not qualified for the quota. I will be more than happy," said Noh.
The Rice Subsidy Programme started in September 2008 to enable the poor to purchase rice at cheaper price.
The AG’s Report however said BERNAS’s production of subsidised rice had failed to hit target between 2009 to 2011.
It said RM1.8 billion was spent on the programme, out of the RM2.1 billion allocated.

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