According to a report by Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama, Southeast Asian countries have reached an agreement to prioritize mutual assistance in addressing rice supply shortages and other food-related challenges. Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu made this announcement following a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Minister Mohamad Sabu stated, “ASEAN collaboration signifies that if any of our member nations encounter issues with rice supply, the priority will be to fulfill the needs of fellow ASEAN nations.” Additionally, he mentioned that Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand have expressed their willingness to consider new requests for additional rice imports.
Malaysia, which currently imports approximately 38% of its rice requirements, is one of the countries affected by export restrictions imposed by major rice exporters like India. In response to this situation, the Malaysian government has introduced a series of measures, including subsidies, to counter the rising prices of rice and ensure an adequate supply in the market.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has also issued a stern warning against rice hoarding, emphasizing the need to prevent individuals from stockpiling local grains. He indicated that legal action may be taken against those found engaged in such practices to safeguard the interests of consumers.