DAP calls for a government freeze on all price increases
Today, it is widely reported that the price of condensed milk is expected to go up shortly by about five cents a tin. Only last October, the price of condensed milk went up by five cents a tin.
If the Government allows the condensed milk to increase by another five cents, this would mean that in less than eight months the condensed milk has increased in price by 20 per cent.
Milk is an essential commodity, particularly for bringing up healthy children. To allow a 20 per cent increase in the price of condensed milk in eight months is to make it more impossible for the poor parents to bring up their children as healthy and bright citizens of Malaysia – leading to problems like school drop-outs and juvenile delinquency.
Nowadays, hardly a day passes without one item or other going up in price. This increase in a whole range of consumer necessities, unfortunately, is accompanied by the continuous decline and fall in the rubber price, which has consistently fallen below the 40 cents a pound level, creating large-scale unemployment and reduction in earnings of workers and farmers.
It is shocking that at this period when the people, particularly the poor in the kampongs, the estates, the new villages and the urban slums, are earning less and less (and more and more are earning nothing because of unemployment) the government should allow prices of consumer commodities and essential items to go up one after another.
The most recent example was in the increase by five cents in the price per kati of sugar. This is highly irresponsible decision on the part of the government, for it is the poor who are hardest hit. Coupled with the recent 5% Sales Tax imposed by Tun Tan Siew Sin, the burden and oppression on the poor had never been greater in Malaysian history.
The DAP calls on the Government to freeze all price increases of consumer essentials and daily necessities, and appoint a committee of inquiry to study how the increase in the cost of living has adversely affected the livelihood of the poor in the kampongs, new villages, estates and urban slums.
To lighten the burden and suffering of the poor, I also call on the Government to:
(i) Withdraw its approval for the increase of the price of sugar by five cents a kati, and allow the free entry of sugar into Malaysia from China;
(ii) Repeal the 5% Sales Tax, which has far-reaching consequences in next raising the cost of living in the country.