Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr.Lim Kit Siang, at DAP Public Rally at Kluang on July 29 at 10p.m.
Rising Prices – DAP accuses Alliance Government of only paying lip-service without doing anything concrete to counter inflation in the country
Inside and outside Parliament, Alliance Ministers had expressed concern about rising prices, but it is unfortunate that apart from paying lip-service, the government has not shown any will or ability to check the galloping inflation in the country.
In the last one week, more and more items have increased in price. Only a few days ago, we read of a wide-ranging increase in the prices of meat, which had already increased many times in the past few months. Only just now, I have been informed that bar of Lux soap has gone up in price from 40 cents to 50 cents.
The people of Malaysia are no more interested in reading about speeches and statements by Alliance leaders and Ministers about their concern about inflation and rising prices. They want firm and effective government action to stop this runaway inflation.
It is no use or solution to curse and blame shopkeepers for hoarding, for although there may be some cases of hoarding and profiteering by some unscrupulous shop-keepers, it is clear that this is not the main course of the galloping domestic inflation.
More fruitful will be for the government to look into the pricing of the products by the manufacturers and wholesalers, to find out and stop unfair pricing at source.
With the inflation crisis in the country, which has brought great hardships to the ordinary people whether in the towns or rural areas, the Alliance Government should stop protecting the interests of capitalists at the expense of the consumers.
The government must re-orient its entire policy to benefit the consumers and ordinary Malaysians, and not moneyed interests. Thus, there is great price increase and scarcity of building materials in Malaysia, making the posession of one’s home virtually a luxury, beyond the reach of the low income brackets. What is all the more surprising is that there is not only shortage of building materials which need to be imported, but shortage of building materials which are locally produced, as timber.
What happens is that as timber fetches a higher price abroad, they are allowed to be exported abroad without check to benefit the timber tycoons and the government coffers, even though this is against the interest of the ordinary Malaysians who are homeless.
The Alliance government can only effectively tackle and reduce the domestic inflation in the country if it is prepared to formulate and implement a people’s policy on the matter. Thus, one other step which can be taken to fight inflation is to require all manufacturers and wholesalers to give advance notice to the government and public before the price is increased, so that these increases can be justified. Such early warning notice will prevent unfair pricing by manufacturers and wholesalers who are out to make a fast buck at the customer’s expense.