Bernas' monopoly ends

 Publish date: Wed, 6 Jun 2018, 03:12 AM

PUTRAJAYA: Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub announced that the monopoly to import rice by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) has been terminated as per the Cabinet decision today.

Pursuant to this, he said a working paper on breaking up the monopoly with feedback from the ministry and other stakeholders would be drafted before being submitted to the government for further action.

"In the effort to protect the interests of local padi farmers, we have identified the modules used by other countries (on importing the staple), among them Indonesia which has been successful in its approach in opening up monopoly on rice," he told a press conference here today.

Meanwhile, Salahuddin said the management of the National Farmers' Organisation of Malaysia have been temporarily suspended effective June 1 (2018).

He said the suspension order under Section 20 (1) Act 109 was issued by the Registrar of Farmers Organisations following an audit on the management of Nafas that was submitted to the ministry on March 26.

Based on the report, Nafas was found to be having serious management problems especially in the aspects of competency, responsibility and transparency involving the leadership and management.

"The suspension was done to enable an investigation to be carried out pertaining to management, abuse of power and leakages involving its board of directors and management.

"This is to ensure that matters that can cause losses to the entity and the people can be overcome and good corporate governance can be brought back," he said.

Salahuddin said the suspension, likely to last three months, would not impact the 770-odd staff, just that the powers of the board in making management and financial decisions had been curtailed.

During the suspension period, powers to run Nafas' affairs will be vested in the Director-General of the Farmers Organisations Authority as provided for under Section 23 of Act 109, he said.

He added that for now, the ministry was looking into the management aspects and that if needed, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission would be roped in.-BERNAMA

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