Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at the Mooncake festival party organised by the Pulau Sebang DAP Branch at Pulau Sebang, Malacca on Wednesday, 28th Sept. 1977 at 8 p.m.
Malaysian consumers should not be submissive but must resort to ‘direct action’ to protest against increase in prices, fares, breakdown of essential services or low quality of goods or services
Although various consumer bodies have been formed in the country, the consumers continues to be a very exploited lot, as can be seen by the spiraling of prices of goods, increase in fares of bus an taxis, constant breakdown of essential services or low quality of goods or service.
Malaysian consumers tend to be submissive, and grumble and curse about these consumer problems. This is not good enough for grumbles and curses cannot solve these consumer problems or prevent their recurrence.
Malaysian consumers must be prepared to resort to ‘direct action’, as in picketing or protest meeting, whenever there is an unfair increase in prices or fares, breakdown of essential service like electricity and water; or low quality of goods or even services.
This is a more effective way to get governmental attention or concern of those authorities involved about the injustices of these wide variety of consumer exploitation, and to secure immediate remedial action.
Consumers in Malaysia have virtually no protection from all these forms of consumer exploitation. The interests of consumers are often ignored whenever the Government considers whether to approve price or fare increases.
For instance, when government approved increases in bus and taxi fares, or in diesel prices, consumer bodies are never asked to give their views.
When these government decisions are made without citizen access or participation, and the government does not explain the criteria for approving such increases, abuses, distortions and exploitation of public interests very often takes place.
Call for Ministry of Consumers Affairs
There is an urgent need for full government protection of consumer interests, and to this end, I call on the Prime Minister, Dato Hussein Onn, to establish a Ministry of Consumer Affairs to end consumer exploitation whether by the private sector or by government agencies and national corporations.