Call for White Paper on inflation crisis

Speech by Opposition Leader of Parliament, and DAP Secretary-General, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a Public Rally at Sungei Patani, Kedah on Friday, 17th August 1973 at 8p.m.

DAP calls for a Government White Paper on the Inflation Crisis and the measures the government proposes to take to put the value back into the Malaysian dollar

Yesterday, the government, in approving a 20% increase in the price of flour, has sanctioned a new round of price increases. As a result of the government decision, bread, biscuits, kway teow, mee, mee hoon, and other foodstuffs will spiral up in price, gravely compounding the budgeting problems of the poor and low-income families.

It is a matter of regret and deep disappointment that the first decision of the new Cabinet is to give another round of concession to the runaway inflation, rather than the taking of concrete and positive measures to fight inflation.

In any galloping inflation, it is the poor and the low-income bracket who are the hardest hit, as the bulk of their expenditures are on basic necessities. Although the Alliance Ministers do not know, any housewife will tell you that one dollar of money is not able to buy 85 cents of goods.

The runaway inflation has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots, defeating the objective of the Second Malaysia Plan to restructure society and eliminate poverty.

One abiding feature of the inflation crisis in Malaysia for over a year is the utter helplessness of the government to check the galloping inflation and the corresponding helplessness of the consumers and consumer’s associations to bring down the prices.

The people and consumers had hoped that the new Cabinet will make a fresh attack on this problem of inflation.

The DAP calls on the Government to issue a White Paper on the inflation crisis in Malaysia, and to outline the steps and measures it proposes to take to combat it and restore the value to the Malaysian dollar so that one dollar of money will fetch one dollar worth of goods.

The inflation has gravely undermined and reduced the purchasing power of the poor and the salaried workers. As an interim measure, I call on the new Cabinet to order a general wage increase in both private and public sector by 10% and a prices freeze.

Another anti-inflationary measure the government should seriously study is to review its fiscal and taxation policies to ensure that the various government taxes are not a main contribution to price inflation. In this context, there is an overpowering case for the abolition of the 5% Sales Tax, for the Bank Negara itself has admitted that this Sales Tax has contributed greatly to price inflation.