The Malaysian Rice Millers Association is warning about the detrimental effects of rice smugglers undercutting the domestic industry. This year, explained vice-president Mohd Redzuan Ahmad, cheaper smuggled rice had meant that over 30,000 tonnes of rice stock and 60,000 tonnes of unprocessed padi were still yet to be sold.

Explaining why he believes smuggling to be at the root of the glut, Mohd Redzuan said, “we are selling the same amount that we did last season and padi production has not increased dramatically, so why are we facing problems in selling our stock?”

Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Minister secretary-general, Datuk Pahamin Rajab, admitted that cross-border rice smuggling did appear to be on the increase, and that 80% of those involved were actually licensed rice millers and wholesalers.

The price for rice stock has fallen from around RM640 per tonne last season to RM580. A kilogram of smuggled rice, Rajab alleged, was selling for between RM1 and RM1.40.