Saturday, May 31, 2008


Coloured stickers to identify rice grades


The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry is to introduce coloured stickers from Sunday to enable consumers identify the different grades of rice. A Ministry statement yesterday said the Super Special Tempatan (SST) five per cent (with five per cent broken grains) packet will carry a purple sticker, the SST 10 per cent packet a yellow sticker and the Super Tempatan (ST) 15 per cent packet a dark blue sticker. “As for the imported rice, which is not a price-controlled item, a light blue sticker will be used for Super White rice, an orange sticker for special rice, a pink sticker for fragrant rice and a brown sticker for parboiled rice,” it said. This latest measure of the Ministry is in accordance with a Cabinet announcement on May 12 that the prices of the SST five per cent and SST 10 per cent rice would be fixed at RM2. 80 and RM2. 70 per kg from Sunday while the ST 15 per cent rice would be fixed at between RM1 .65 and RM1.80 per kg depending on zones. In making the announcement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that the controlled prices were to ensure sufficient supply of the rice and curb rising prices following a drastic increase in prices in the market over the last month. The statement also said that through the standardisation of rice prices nationwide, the Government spent RM725 million to subsidise rice imports with RM243.7 million allocated for Sabah and Sarawak. At present, Sabah and Sarawak depend on rice imports to meet their needs, with Sabah importing 70 per cent of its requirements and Sarawak, 47 percent. “If this (control and subsidy) measures are not adopted, the impact of rising prices of imported rice in the world market will cause a drastic rise in rice prices for consumers in Sabah and Sarawak,” the statement said. The statement also said that monitoring by the Ministry’s Padi and Rice Regulatory Division found that the price of the SST five per cent had reached RM3 per kg since April and the fixing of the price had enabled the people to buy the rice at a reasonable price. On the exemption of fixed prices for other imported rice such as Basmati rice, glutinous rice and Thai fragrant rice, which have floated retail prices, the statement said consumers of these rice varieties were from the middle and high- income bracket and could afford to pay the higher prices. At present, the average price of rice in the world market had risen by as much as three times the average price of last year, and hovers at US$1,100 per tonne (US$1 = RMI-24). - Bernama -