Message by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, on the occasion of the official opening of the DAP Kuchai Branch by Party Chairman, Dr. Chen Man Hin, on Sunday, 16th January 1972 at 12 p.m.
Call on government to disallow any price increase of sugar
The root cause of the present sugar crisis in Malaysia, causing widespread confusion, frustration, hardship and suffering to the poor in the kampongs, new villages and towns, is the hoarding by sugar manufacturers and wholesalers in expectation of price increases in sugar. They hope that they would be able to make a neat fortune from their hoardings when the price goes up.
There is no doubt that a thorough investigation into the origins of the sugar crisis will show up the role of sugar factories in this crisis, which had refused to supply sugar both to wholesalers and retailers for a few days early this month.
Even at present, although sugar manufacturers are supplying sugar to wholesalers and other customers, I have received reports that they are adopting a go-slow tactics to slow down sugar supplies. Thus, before the sugar crisis, the sugar factories used machinery to load sugar onto waiting lorries. But at present, they are using manual labour, so that they can reduce the quantity of sugar supplies compared to requirement. As a result, long queue of lorries have to wait for their sugar supplies, which was not seen before. Many lorries were turned away when the factory closes without any supplies.
I call on the Minister of Trade and Industry, Inche Khir Johari, to make immediate investigations and not to allow sugar factories, which make millions of dollars of profit a year, from the masses of the people, from acting so anti-social and unconscionable a fashion.
There are pressures on the government from the sugar manufacturers to increase the price of sugar. I call on the government to resist all these pressures for price increases of sugar, in the interest of the suffering masses, in particular the poor in the urban slums, new villages and kampongs as sugar is an essential consumer commodity which no one can do without.
I call on the government to give a categorical assurance that it would, in the public interest, refuse to allow any increase in the price of sugar. Once the anticipation that the price of sugar will be increased in the near future is removed, then the sugar crisis will come to an end. Otherwise, the consumers will continue to be at the mercy of sugar manufacturers and wholesalers – particularly as there will be a greatly increased demand for sugar with the coming festivities with Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Haji coming shortly.