'The problem is very serious around the world due to severe price rises and we have seen riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso,' he told reporters in New Delhi.
Malaysia, a relatively better endowed nation, is not exempted from this crisis. Hence, I support the federal government's decision to create a stockpile of food items especially rice to control prices from further escalation.
Since late 2003, we have experienced a sharp increase in cost of living due to higher prices of essential food items. This is results of a direct impact of higher fuel and raw materials costs.
Hence, several actions need to be taken by both the BN and PR coalitions:
- Promote better management of internal resources to avoid wastage and non-performance and channel extra resources to the poor to mitigate the increase in cost of living,
- Encourage local food production and upstream activities e.g. poultry, vegetable, fruits and rice cultivation,
- Create a committee to look into issues faced by a new class of urban poor,
- Review the current subsidy system to ensure our scarce funds are used for more appropriate functions, and
- Create a contingency plan in the case of acute rice shortage
This crisis may soon be internalised by us. Coupled and made worse by unpredictable climate change and growing population in other parts of Asia and Africa, food shortages can become a global crisis which may even affect migration patterns, refugees, famine and riots.