Press Statement by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang on 7th October 1971.
Rise in price of condensed milk
Hardly a week passes nowadays without the price of some essential commodity or other going up in price. The latest item to increase its price is condensed milk, with every tin going up five cents.
Although every housewife knows that the cost of living has shot up over the past year, and is continuing to shoot up, the government leaders, in particular, the Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, had publicly claimed that the cost of living has remained stable in the country over years.
To the rich, wealthy and well-to-do, the increase of five cents for every tin of condensed milk will not even be felt. But for the poor, the distressed and the have-nots, whether in towns, new villages or Malay kampongs, the increase will be a very heavy below, particularly coming after a whole host of other daily necessities, like sugar, salt, cooking oil, rice and soap, had gone up in price.
Such price increases, coming at a time with the drastic fall in the price of rubber, economic decline, bad business, reduction in increase, high unemployment, have greatly multiplied the suffering, hardships and misery of the poor in towns and kampongs.
The milk manufacturing industries said the government has approved their price increases. I call on the government not to be indifferent to the suffering, hardships and poverty of the downtrodden in towns, new villages and kampongs.
The government should not allow any price increases, unless it is convinced that such price increases are fully justified and cannot be absorbed by the manufacturers even if it means lower profits will be made by the manufacturers. This will be more socially just than for the government to act as the protector of manufacturers to ensure hey reap high profits, even if it means exploitation and blood-sucking the poor and needy.
The government has not to date shown that it is concerned with the problem of spiraling increases in the price of essential commodities. I call on the government to take immediate action, for the sake of the poor and the needy, to check such price increases of essential commodities, and even take action to reverse and reduce unjustified price levels of essential commodities.