Can the Consumer Ministry control inflation due to petrol price hike?
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw urges the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Updal to use the allocation on consumerism effectively, to curb unreasonable increase in the price of goods.
Dr Tan comments on the increase in petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)for the third time in the last few months.
Today, the price of petrol and diesel goes up by 30 sen per litre and that of LPG by 30 sen per kilogramme, that is, petrol RM1.92, diesel RM1.581 and LPG RM1.75. The Government deliberately reduces subsidy on petrol products. Last year, the subsidy amounted to RM7.41 billion and related tax exemption RM7.85 billion.
Petrol price among our neighbours such as Thailand and Singapore is RM2.52 and RM4.15 respectively. Smuggling of petrol products to neighbouring countries is rampant.
However, the substantial hike of 30 sen increases the burden on the people, results in inflation and affects all sectors.
The responsibility of the Consumer Ministry is huge. It aims to control inflation and inculcate awareness of consumerism through law enforcement and education. Allocation for consumerism is nearly RM100 million a year. Its efficiency is unsatisfactory. Recently, it has additional over two hundred staff members. It has to buck up.
The increase in petrol price gives the minister extra pressure. We hope that he will not just cry out loud to defend his position in Parliament, but also come up with a definite strategy to stop the chain effects on goods.
Petronas earns billions annually. We wish the company is more transparent. It should never misuse the profits. Instead, it should concentrate on meaningful fields such as education and employment.
We shall raise the problems of the general effects of the petrol price increase in the March Parliament. We would like to know how effective are the measures taken by the Consumer Ministry to fight inflation.