The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has admitted that it is unable to handle the issue of price hike if there is no cooperation from the other ministries and the public as a whole.
According to Astro Awani, it’s Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi explains that the cause of this problem is complex and it is out of their control.
“We cannot comprehensively solve this problem on our own as it is a complex issue that requires the attention of various other ministries.”
“Nevertheless, the ministry is working on lightening the burden shouldered by consumers because of the recent price hikes.” Nanta said.
Nanta also said his Ministry has initiated discussions with industry players in order to ensure the well-being of all parties is protected.
He said that the Ministry is not able to only take care of consumers at the cost of business owners. Hence, the ministry is taking into consideration all parties that are part of the economic chain.
In the televised dialogue hosted by Astro Awani, fellow panellist Saravanan Thambirajah, who is Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) chief executive, also questioned the minister on the role of third-party agents in price hikes.
“There are local farmers who claim that the increase of prices is not because of them, but instead can be attributed to agents. Is the ministry aware of the role played by agents?” Saravanan queried.
On this matter, Nanta called industry players and the general public to file a report directly to KPDNHEP in the event they encounter such practice by these parties.
“Fomca might not have the power of a ministry, but you do have a duty as an organisation. If you have been made aware of wrongdoings committed by parties, send us a report and we will address the matter.” Nanta said.
He then called on the public to also lodge reports if they come across exorbitant prices on any goods.
Also present as a panellist in the discussion was Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin and he pointed out that a proper analysis of the increase in vegetable costs will aid in understanding the price hikes.
“For imported vegetables, it is unfair to blame the increase in cost on the ministry as it is out of their hands if production costs are on the rise in their countries of origin.”
“If the vegetable is from Cameron Highlands, then we must take note of recent floods in the area, which have caused a disruption in supply.”
“Now that the floods have been managed, prices should return to normal within one or two weeks.” Ameer said, adding that the shortage of labour is another factor that will affect the prices of goods.