KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today gave his assurance that there would be no hike in local rice prices.

According to the Prime Minister, he has directed the relevant ministers to go on the ground and monitor market prices as the government must address this issue seriously.

“While we assure that the price of local rice will not increase, there are reports of shortages in some areas that must be properly addressed. I also hope our Honourable Members understand the increase (for example) in onion prices.

“Since August, export duties on onions from India have risen by 40 per cent... and certainly for us in Malaysia who buy onions from India, we will be affected by that price increase, just as India decided last month to restrict the export of white rice,“ he said when winding up the debate on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) for the Finance Ministry at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said these developments are likely to force an increase in prices based on the supply and demand theory.

Therefore, the government has implemented measures, including additional subsidies, to keep the local rice price affordable, he added.

Meanwhile, commenting on allocations for opposition members of parliament, Anwar reiterated the Unity Government’s stance, highlighting its willingness to engage in negotiations, as previously demonstrated by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Anwar said he has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof as the government’s representative to lead discussions on this matter.

“The final decision from the Finance Minister and Prime Minister, as approved by Bera (Ismail Sabri) during his time as Prime Minister, serves as the guideline we more or less adhere to. When it comes to allocations, discuss, negotiate... avoid arrogance and pride,” said the Prime Minister. - Bernama