Bernas role still relevant, says CEO

KUALA LUMPUR: Padi Beras Nasional Bhd's (Bernas) role in the rice ecosystem is still relevant, said its chief executive officer, Ismail Mohamed Yusof .

"The current system works very well. In terms of rice, if you look at it from when Bernas was set up, there's been no issue with regards to self sufficiency. We always had the cheapest rice in the region.

"For me the system works. If the government wants to break up the monopoly, then we will work with them and see how best it is for the nation and for the rakyat (people), that is most critical," he told reporters when met at the Ilham Tower here today.

Ismail said the government should take suggestions from lots of parties on food security in Malaysia as they need to also look into the social obligation to support the farmers.

He said everybody talked about the right to import but nobody discussed the problems faced by farmers, such as stockpile issues, subsidy disbursements, miller's funding and others.

On June 6, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry announced the termination of Bernas' monopoly to protect the interests of local paddy farmers.

Ismail was one out of many parties who appeared today to discuss and provide updates to the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).

Among others who attended sessions with the CEP were Malaysian Fish Farmers Association deputy president Mohamed Razali Mohamed and Federation of Livestock Farmers' Association of Malaysia president Datuk Jeffrey Ng Choon Ngee. — Bernama