Press Statement by Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, on16 June 1973:
In his speech to a special UMNO meeting yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, Tun Dr. Ismail, called on the people, political parties and consumers’ associations to help combat the grave problem of rising price and profiteering.
Since last year, the housewives, consumers and those in the low income brackets have borne the brunt of the run-away inflation and galloping price increases of a whole range of goods.
Apart from statements of sympathy and concern, the people cannot see any firm and positive action taken on the part of the government to curb unreasonable price increases.
The opposition parties are prepared to give the government all help in this vital problem, but the government must first take this problem seriously.
For a start, I would suggest that the government form a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Price Increases and Profiteering comprising representatives from all parties represented in Parliament, with powers to hold public hearings and summon witnesses on every unreasonable price increase.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee should then make its views and recommendations known to the public and government as to whether any price increase is justification or sheer profiteering.
I believe if every unreasonable price increase can be exposed to the search of public security and examination, with those responsible for it having to answer and justify their actions publicly, then it will have a very salutary effect to curb profiteering and unconscionable pricing, particularly at source at manufacturer and wholesale levels.
I commend this suggestion to Tun Dr. Ismail and earnestly hope that in the interest of the poor in the kampongs, new villages, estates, and among salaried workers whose fixed income are completely unable to cope with the runaway inflation, such a Parliamentary Standing Committee against Rising Prices and Profiteering should be set up without delay.