19/05/2022 (The New Straits Times), George Town - The government has been urged to draw up a constructive masterplan on food security without further delay to secure the national food supply chain.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Baljit Singh said immediate efforts must also be taken to ensure that the cost of living - especially prices of essential staples - does not spiral out of control.
"It is all well and good that farmers and other food producers are being asked to find ways to ensure we have adequate food supply.
"What exactly has the government done in the past months to secure our supply of essentials in the face of fears of a global food security crisis?
"Our local consumption of food and other essentials must be first secured by ensuring there is adequate supply for all Malaysians first before commodities such as palm oil and other goods are allowed to be exported," he said today.
Elaborating, Baljit said local farmers and food suppliers must be given immediate incentives to cater for domestic supply instead of allowing a handful of greedy corporations to continue profiting greatly from exports without any regard to protect our local supplies.
"Our policy makers and think tanks should waste no time finding ways of safeguarding the access of Malaysians to adequate staples like palm oil products, chicken, seafood, eggs and items derived of grains.
"Also critical to be managed are the prices of the said items.
"Do not waste precious moments and do nothing about our food security until things get out of control. Tactics like blaming the situation on forces like the war between Ukraine and Russia or the fact that some countries have stopped exporting certain commodities are no longer acceptable.
"Step up on all that is needed right now before the global food crisis gets out of control and we are left still doing nothing about putting affordable food and supplies in the homes of all Malaysians," he added.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government had decided to do away with approved permits (AP) for Malaysians to import food from abroad.
He had said that, with this decision, anyone could now import food into the country without having to first obtain an AP to ensure that the country would always have sufficient food supply.