High prices, goods shortages trigger public fears

KUALA LUMPUR: The high prices and shortages of goods have raised concerns among the public, with some opting to keep dry and canned food as preparation in case the situation worsens.

Khazanah Research Institute deputy director Dr Sarena Che Omar said stocking non-perishable items was good, adding that those with ample land could also grow crops and livestock.

But in the long run, the government, she said, should expand the nation’s stockpile beyond rice and support local research and development on food-related studies.

“Meaning, not just accelerating research on farm technologies and crop breeding, but also manufacturing-related studies, logistics and supply chain-related studies, as well as market studies and consumer behavioural studies,” she said.

Emir Research team members Dr Rais Hussin and Ameen Kamal said the chicken supply shortage was a reminder that Malaysia needed to be self-sufficient, at least for staple foods, major livestock and aquaculture.

“The Covid-19 pandemic showed Malaysia’s vulnerability in food security when trade activities were halted, depriving Malaysia of its staple food.

“Malaysia had to knock on the doors of foreign nations to ensure it is able to import enough rice,” they said, adding that food security should be given the highest priority.