fomca logoMonday, 23 May 2022
PETALING JAYA: Reducing the red tape may help address the rising cost of living and food shortages, say consumer associations.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason (pic) said the Approved Permit (AP) requirement should be abolished across the board to bring in more imports and allow more food industry players to come in to ensure there is sufficient supply in the market.

“(There must be) total abolition of APs. The government must also make trade practices much easier.

“Too many licensing requirements is a waste of time,” he said.

 Marimuthu added that the government should assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in producing enough food for the people.

Efforts must also be made to increase employment opportunities and welfare allocations for vulnerable groups, and ensure that more lower-income people have access to education and affordable healthcare, he added.

Fomca chief executive officer Saravanan Thambirajah echoed the call by National Recovery Council chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the re-activation of the food security council that was previously created to handle food crises.

He said the council should look into long-term measures to increase the food supply, create strong policies to protect the country against global economic conditions, and to reduce dependence on food imports.

“We need good agricultural policies in Malaysia. Don’t focus so much on land development. We need to focus on agriculture as well,” he added.

Saravanan said the government must also look into immediate measures to stabilise the local supply of food, especially chicken, vegetables and fish.

Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) education officer NV Subbarow said there are items that did not warrant a price hike but traders still went ahead and increased their prices.“There is not enough enforcement,” he said.

He added that traders who increased prices must explain the rationale behind the hike.

“Many wholesalers are selling their old products at higher prices, but the products were bought much earlier before the start of the Russian-Ukraine war.

“What is the connection between the prices of tea, coffee, cooking oil, car and motorcycle spare parts with the shortage of wheat?” he said, adding that prices of items that are not affected by the supply and demand issue have also gone up.

He said he was also told that car and motorcycle owners were warned by shops that prices of spare parts are increasing.

Subbarow said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry must carry out constant enforcement to check prices of consumer goods.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob earlier said the Cabinet will meet today to discuss the rising prices of essential goods and the issue of chicken supply.

He added that the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry would present short-term and long-term plans to address the issues at the meeting.