Rising Food Prices – A Big Challenge For Government

By Social Activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye


KOTA KINABALU: Rising food prices are a matter of great concern to all Malaysians, particularly those in the low-income groups and petty traders.

After facing a two-year period of severe restrictions, uncertainty, and anxiety due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians were hoping for some relief. But what we are seeing now is probably more of the same.

As much as the Government has taken remedial and preventive action in the case of the pandemic, it must also be proactive and effective in handling the case of spiraling costs.

We are now witnessing the prices of basic foods such as vegetables and chicken and eggs rising sharply, perhaps the highest ever recorded in the country.

The increases are the direct result of a lack of manpower in the relevant industries due to the freeze on migrant workers’ intake, and the high prices of poultry feed caused by the increasing cost of soy and corn, among others.

So, what should the authorities do and what can the authorities do?

For a start, there has to be a free, comprehensive, robust and immediate discussion of this phenomenon to arrive at the right solutions expeditiously.

Nothing else is more important at this moment in time.

The best platform for such a discussion is Parliament.

But at the Dewan Rakyat session yesterday, Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon rejected a motion for members of the House to discuss this pressing issue.

He only allowed the matter to be debated in the restricted Special Chamber.

In Keluarga Malaysia, all Malaysians are affected by the rising prices of daily essentials. And all Malaysians should have the opportunity, through their elected representative to seek common solutions.

All other matters can wait.

After all, the first duty of all MPs is to look after the interests of the rakyat. And what can be of greater concern at this moment in time than the cost of putting food on the table?

The hike in food prices seems to have gone out of control and all that the government can do is to introduce the Malaysian Family Sales which aims to ensure lower food prices and alleviate the burden of the poor and low income groups.

While the government’s move is appropriate it also has a responsibility to bring down food prices, stabilise it and to prevent profiteering

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