PM: Tycoon reprimanded for monopolising rice imports

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Dec 5: Businessman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary has been reprimanded for monopolising rice imports through PadiBeras Nasional Berhad (Bernas), says Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He stressed that the approval to import rice is not a concession nor a form of reward to the tycoon but it was given to Bernas, which was then owned by Tan Sri Tan Boon Seng with a 31 per cent share and Tan Sri Shahidan Kassim.

“Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar has bought this company (through the) 31 per cent share from Tan Boon Seng at about RM800 million, and from a company owned by Tan Sri Shahidan Kasim for RM400 million.

“Of course, he will have responsibility to pay back but I want to guarantee that the government under my leadership will not easily allow any politician to accumulate wealth by being ‘bloodsuckers’ of those poor paddy farmers.

“Now, we cannot burden Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar alone until we go through his earnings and whether his return is reasonable. But I have urged him to take immediate action and in return, he has pledged to allocate RM10 million this month to help poor paddy farmers and RM50 million via Bernas next year,” he said at a special press conference in Putrajaya today. – DayakDaily