If we do not come up with a holistic approach to assist them, small businesses will be the victims, says Nanta Linggi
pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) may not be able to resolve the pricing issue of daily goods by Dec 9, as previously assured by Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
He described the issue as “very complex” as it would involve other ministries and agencies to bring down the prices of goods.
“I will take responsibility because the matter may not be resolved by Dec 9. It is very complex,” he said in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to a supplementary question from Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng who asked if the minister would take responsibility for the delay in resolving the price hike of daily goods.
Nanta Linggi’s response, however, caused an uproar in the Dewan Rakyat as Lim then said the minister should not have made the statement if he could not deliver the promise.
Other Opposition lawmakers chimed in and highlighted the fact that many households are struggling to bear the cost of living with the increase in prices.
Nanta Linggi shot back at Lim who continued asking questions on the prices and said Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang should have also resigned for not materialising their promises.
“When I made the statement, we tried to do it. But the fact of the matter is you should know it is very complex. It is not just entirely in the hands of KPDNHEP.
“If we want to talk about resigning, Port Dickson also promised that petrol prices would go down the next day if the Opposition wins, but it did not go down. Iskandar Puteri also said he would resign if Anwar Ibrahim did not become prime minister.
“I did not come into the Dewan Rakyat to play politics,” said the minister.
Nanta Linggi also said the ministry has not put a price cap on goods, especially poultry, to avoid putting the burden solely on traders as there are logistics issues involved in the increase of prices.
“This is why we are not being hasty in implementing a price cap because if we do not assist them in the operational costs, traders would have to sell the items at a high price because they would have bought the items at a high price from wholesalers who got it at a higher price from farmers. If we do not come up with a holistic approach to assist them, small businesses will be the victims.”
He added that KPDNHEP is engaging other ministries and agencies to reduce the price of goods as other matters along the supply chain involving plantations and farms are not under its jurisdiction.
Responding to the replies, Anwar, however, urged the minister to bring the longstanding issue to the Cabinet.
“Take this issue to the Cabinet, you can resolve it together. The people have waited for too long,” said the Opposition leader.
Earlier, Nanta Linggi said the price hike issue is not limited to Malaysia. He cited a report from Cable News Network that highlighted the global food price has increased by 30% this year.
He said KPDNHEP is prepared to overcome the issue and will continue to take actions according to the provisions under its jurisdiction to ensure no one is profiteering from the price hike.
He added that the ministry will also conduct a Keluarga Malaysia sale from Dec 4 where basic needs will be sold at affordable prices.
“This programme will be implemented nationwide, involving 222 parliamentary constituencies, twice a month. The government will ensure that the prices of goods at the programme are 15%-20% cheaper than the market price,” he said.