by ANIS HAZIM / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
DAP is proposing for the government to inject RM3 billion from the prosperity tax (windfall tax) collection into a National Price Stabilisation Fund to slow down the soaring prices of basic needs.
Its secretary general Lim Guan Eng (picture) said the fiscal injection should be provided as an incentive to increase production and supply and subsidise the cost of the increase in prices.
“A National Price Stabilisation Fund will also help to temper extreme volatility in prices by sourcing directly from producers or reducing logistic costs,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He stated that the allocation of RM200 million in Budget 2022 is too small to help reduce prices of essential goods for residents living in rural areas and on islands.
“The time has come for the minister and the federal government to take responsibility and not cowardly run away by blaming traders or even the heavy rainfall for the soaring prices,” he added.
Under Budget 2022, the price stabilisation scheme for cooking oil is RM400 million and the subsidy for general use flour is RM40 million.
Lim also called on Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi to take responsibility if he cannot reverse the soaring prices of basic necessities by Dec 9.
“This is not about soaring prices for eggs, chickens, bread, vegetables, cooking oil and even ice cubes. This is also not just about the prices of imported fertilisers and insecticides, as well as construction costs rising unchecked.
“More importantly, this is about the people’s sufferings and livelihood when their purchasing power is halved with daily necessities that are not luxury goods but sold at luxury prices,” Lim pressed.
Regardless of any financial assistance, he said the government has been totally nullified and negated as the prices escalate and salaries remain stagnant.
“The government should stop pinning the blame solely on traders, farmers or businesses when they are also victims of high prices imposed upon them by the forces of supply and demand, rising logistics and transportation costs,” he stated.
He added that punishing all traders is merely to cover up the failure of an ineffective minister but does not solve the problem of soaring prices and may worsen with the supply shortages.
“Malaysia cannot afford to fail anymore following the previous failure in managing the twin crisis of the economic recession and the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in a horrific death toll of 30,425 and 2.63 million infections as of Nov 30, 2021,” he added.
The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that KPDNHEP may not be able to resolve the pricing issue of daily goods by Dec 9 as it was described as “very complex” by its minister.
Nanta Linggi, however, assured that he will take responsibility for the issue.