The government is urged to look into ways on how to control prices of goods and essential services from going up. Prices of food and drinks went up after Ukarine war broke out on 24 February 2022. The sharp increase was felt during Chinese New Year. Some coffee shops charged a small glass of hot water as much as RM1.00 while a bowl of kolo mee, with same normal portion, with an increase of as much as RM0.80 sen per bowl just before Chinese New year.
What is the justification of their increase? The reason for the increase was that workers went home to hometown for Chinese New Year or back to kampong. It was the trend that when prices went up, normally, this will never go down. Inflation is going up and it was reported in the press that Sarawak had experience an increase of inflation at 4.3% in January 2023 – New Sarawak Tribune 24 February 2023 and this was higher than the national average of 3.7 percent.
With the Ukarine War, there seems that there will be no sign for the recovery of the world economy unless the war ends soon. Many countries are hit and in UK there seems food rationing is going on. Food is difficult to find because the war has effect on food production. The Ukarine war if not ended soon will be an excuse to have prices of goods and essential services to go up further.
Salaried people, self-employed and pensioners will find it difficult to cope with the increase of prices of food and essential goods. To control the prices of goods and services, the government is urged to strictly enforce the PRICE CONTROL AND ANTI-PROFITEERING ACT 2011. At the moment, we hardly see enforcement officers conduct routine checking of prices of goods. There is also lack of publicity by the relevant government agencies in Sarawak of actions taken by them to control prices of goods.
Ministers should do their own inspection at wet markets, coffee shops and food outlets to find out for themselves the grouses of petty traders, hawkers and stallholders so that they could find solutions to help them to overcome the difficulties of their business in the hope that they can reduce the prices of things they sell.
VOON LEE SHAN
President, Parti Bumi Kenyalang