PENDANG: A special programme for the distribution and sale of local white rice at a reasonable price at Agrobazar Rakyat Kubur Panjang, here today drew a positive response from the public, with 1,190 bags of rice sold.

A Bernama check found that people of different races including the Siamese community had been queuing since 9 am to purchase 10 kilogrammes of rice for only RM26.

Fauziah Yaakob, 54, from Kampung Bukit Berangan, here said she was looking forward to the programme due to the current shortage of local white rice in the market, which has resulted in the essential item to be sold at high prices.

“I’m relieved because it’s hard to find local white rice these days, and imported rice can cost up to RM38 per bag. Since my children and their kids live with me, I was a little worried.

“Eight of us eat rice every day. If the price of rice goes up, it will be hard for us because I’m unemployed and depend on my husband’s RM200 monthly pension. My children only do odd jobs and don’t have a steady income,” she told Beranam here today.

Fauziah hoped that the programme would be held on a regular basis in the future as it could help reduce the people’s burden.

Atikah Sabri, 30, said she is grateful for the government’s swift intervention measures, which allowed people to buy rice at a cheap price.

“I decided to come here as soon as I heard about the programme. I’m really grateful because this rice will last me a week...I just hope that after this, the government will sell more rice to big families at an affordable price,” she said.

Ismail Awang, 60, from Kampung Paya Mengkuang said he came as early as 8 am to ensure that he wouldn’t have to wait too long to buy the local rice.

“The last time I bought a bag of rice for RM38, I was really surprised...Thankfully, I can buy a bag of rice today for only RM26, which really helps ease the people’s burden brought about by the rising cost of living.

Meanwhile, Kedah Farmers' Organisation Authority (LPP) deputy director Nor Rahila Mohd Yusof said the programme was carried out in stages with each individual limited to purchasing a packet of rice to ensure that more people received the benefits.

“In Kedah, the Area Farmers Organisations (PPK) involved are Kubur Panjang PPK and Merbok PPK, each of which received 15 tonnes of rice....the programme was held yesterday in Merbok and today in Kubur Panjang,” she said.

Yesterday, LPP Deputy Director-General (Development) Amir Mat Amin said a total of 700 tonnes of local white rice would be distributed throughout the peninsula beginning today as an early intervention in addressing the problem of the supply of the country’s staple food.

The special programme for the distribution and sale of local white rice directly to the end user will be made at premises under LPP and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) in four zones, namely the north, central, south and east. -Bernama

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