Malaysian distributor dispels fake rice allegations

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - A rice distributor finds it difficult to stomach that his brand has been accused in cyberspace as one of those importing fake grains from China.

Tan Chien Hung, the owner of the TKC local rice company, said the attacks, including pictures, started on WhatsApp and Facebook on May 15.

He thought nothing of it at first, until the allegations went viral.

He reported the matter to the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on May 16 and is urging the authorities to take action against those whom he claimed had spread lies about his product.

Tan insisted his company was not allowed to import rice from China.

"Our products are 100 per cent pure rice from local suppliers and we do not use any kind of ridiculous substances to replace rice," he said.

His company also worked with the Health Department and so far, Tan said the health officials had given him assurance that there was nothing wrong with the TKC brand of rice.

The news of fake rice, found to be selling in Chinese markets especially in Taiyuan, in north China's Shaanxi province, have been circulating on popular social media platforms.

The plastic rice, reportedly made from potatoes and sweet potatoes with synthetic resin moulded into the shape of real rice, is said to have made its way into countries with large rural populations such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The latest news that is circulating is that the fake rice has entered Singapore and even Malaysia.

Despite the allegations, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the ministry had not received any report but would investigate the claims.