PONTIAN, Oct 26 — The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry (MOA) is scrutinising several companies which are keen to obtain a contract to import rice in January 2021.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said MOA had invited the companies by issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to them to enable the selected company to obtain the contract later to fulfill several critieria including sound finance of at least RM300 million for importing, milling, distributing and marketing rice in Malaysia.

‘’That is our proposal so that anyone later who is given the licence by the government to carry out a role like Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), for example, will take over the national rice stockpile and the RM300 million which we allocate to Bernas can be used for other activities,’’ he said.

Salahuddin said this to reporters after launching a 2019 Farmers’ Gathering at Rambah, here today.

The Pulai Member of Parliament said the government’s move to fix a criteria including a fund of RM300 million was seen as a long term thinking whereby the money which was all these while allocated to Bernas could be diverted to several MOA programme to help the B40 fishermen and farmers’ groups.

“Indeed, now we (MOA) must have that much money (RM300 million) to look after the (rice) stockpile.

‘’After this, any quarter taking over, whether Bernas or others, will look after the stockpile. So, we can use the money for other purposes,’’ he said.

Last month, Salahuddin was reported to have said that MOA offered any quarter keen to replace Bernas which would end its rice import contract in January 2021 to submit a RFP to be evaluated by the government.

Earlier, at the programme, Salahuddin also handed over part of the business tithe of the National Farmers’ Organisation (NFO) in the state amounting to RM80,000 to 400 farming tithe recipients from the Pontian Selatan Area Farmers’ Organisation (AFO) and the Pekan Nanas AFO.



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