PUTRAJAYA: The two deputy prime ministers have their responsibilities spelt out today, with Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi being entrusted to oversee the disaster management in the country, while Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof to focus on Sabah and Sarawak affairs, especially on matters related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said both of them will also play an equal role in ensuring that the economic gap between the people in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, will be reduced through various measures to be taken to address the issue.

“All powers have been delegated to our fellow elected representatives, we have to be prepared to face possible flood disasters as the weather forecast says it will be gloomy and burdensome weather ahead.

“So we have asked Ahmad Zahid to chair the disaster management committee and come out with immediate measures to monitor the situation and make preparations (for floods).

“Fadillah, on the other hand, has been tasked to ensure that all issues relating to MA63 are resolved as soon as possible,” he told a press conference after chairing a special Cabinet meeting here today.

Meanwhile, Anwar said Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Mohamad Sabu will announce lower prices of eggs which aims at reducing dependence on cartels and people’s burden from the rising cost of living.

“We hope there will be an adequate supply of eggs in the market and that the prices will be reduced,” he said.

At the same time, Anwar reprimanded Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary for monopolising rice imports.

“To be fair, we have to know that the approved permit for import is not a concession and not awarded to him but to Bernas (Padiberas Nasional Berhad), which was then owned by Tan Sri Tan Boon Seng and (Datuk Seri) Shahidan Kassim,” he said.

Anwar said Syed Mokhtar had bought 31 per cent of the company’s shares from Tan Boon Seng for about RM800 million and Shahidan’s stakes at RM400 million.

The prime minister said his government would not allow political figures to easily gain wealth and “suck the blood” of poor rice farmers.

“However, we cannot burden Syed Mokhtar right now until we can look at his profits and ascertain if the turnover is acceptable,” he said.

On the government’s policies, Anwar said all the good policies of the previous government will continue, including the transparent contract system.

“Good policies, transparent contacts, we will have no problem with that. This is not a new government, this is a government that continues the system, but we are firm in making changes, and tenders or projects which do not follow procedures, we should re-examine,” he said. - Bernama