KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng is wondering if Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi will resign from his ministerial post if he can’t control the rising prices of daily goods.
In a statement, the Bagan MP said Nanta had promised to sort out the pricing issue by December 9 but questioned what the minister would do if he can’t reverse the increase in prices of vegetables.
“Never before have Malaysians seen such high prices of daily necessities such as eggs, chickens, bread, vegetables and even ice cubes. The Federal government must be reminded that these daily necessities are not luxury goods but the prices are now at luxury levels.
“Worse is that the federal government either appears to be uncaring or ineffective and doing nothing to check the rising prices.
“Will Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi resign if he cannot reverse the soaring prices of basic necessities, like vegetables increasing by more than 100 per cent,” he asked.
Nanta had acknowledged the rising prices of goods, for example chicken, and attributed it to the increased cost of operations and materials.
He said that to remedy the situation, his ministry had held engagement sessions with major chicken farm owners in the country and discussed with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries on implementing a fixed price for standard chicken.
Another reason Nanta gave for the price hike in vegetables was the extreme weather changes in major vegetable supply areas such as Cameron Highlands, Pahang that caused a decline in the quality and quantity of produce.
However, Lim said that when he was distributing food packs to his Penang constituents, many asked him if they were going to have an increase in salaries as well seeing as how the economy is not recovering and people are still struggling to make ends meet.
He urged Putrajaya to act immediately and not wait till December 9 to resolve the issue.
“Nanta Linggi had blamed higher operational costs in the supply chain and assured Malaysians that soaring prices of daily necessities would be resolved by December 9.
“The federal government should bear full responsibility if the prices are not brought down by December 9 but must also act now to reduce the prices in the meantime and not wait till 9 December.
Previously, Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid said he was aware of the situation but added that ministry officers found no price hike in vegetables in Penang.
Other than vegetables, the price of a standard loaf of bread by popular local maker Gardenia has also been reported to have increased recently.
Earlier today, The Malaysian Insight quoted the Malaysia Fisheries Association predicting higher prices for fish by Chinese New Year next year, attributing it to an acute manpower shortage in the industry.