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Don't Look for Scapegoats for Price Hikes-Dr. Jeffrey

Everyone except the ruling Umno/BN government knows thatthe recent price hikes are caused by government policies in increasing the petrol and diesel prices, sugar subsidies and now raise in electricity tariffs and the like.

The people also know that these price increases are totally contrary to the BN Manifesto in the May 2013 general election.    The Prime Minister and the BN had promised the people the stars and the moon just to fish for the votes to remain in power.   Six months later and many of these stars and moon promises have been broken.
It is therefore not surprising for the government leaders to blame others for their own mistakes in causing the price hikes.   The people should prepare for more price hikes in 2014 and further increases in the costs of living especially in Sabah.

If the Chief Minister is serious and sincere in helping the common people, then he should name the middlemen who are causing the price hikes and then take action against the profiteers.It is unfair to put the blame on businessmen and middlemen for the price hikes.    We need to understand that in a free or even controlled economy, the primary motive of businesses is to make profits.   Even government linked corporations are profit-oriented.

If the Chief Minister has the information that certain middlemen are undertaking excessive profiteering, he should name them and bring it to the attention of the federal authorities so that action can be taken against the profiteers.

The government need to take whatever action to assist the people cope with the rising prices even if it means taking action against the profiteers.    If the middlemen are merely hiking prices due to the government policies then they should not be blamed.   It will create a wrongful impression against genuine businessmen and it will not help the Sabah economy.

Causing tiger prawns to be RM120 per kilogram is not an appropriate comparison as tiger prawns are rich people’s menu and are not on the daily menu of the ordinary folks.   As it is the ordinary folks are having problems coping with rising prices of necessities and not tiger prawns.  If at all, the high prices for tiger prawns can be a boon and additional income for the ordinary fishermen.

“I urge the Chief Minister to focus on ways to alleviate and help the ordinary folks cope with rising prices” suggested Dr. Jeffrey.

There are many steps the Sabah government led by the Chief Minister can do to help the ordinary rakyat.

For starters, the Chief Minister and the Sabah government can ask the federal government to reduce petrol and diesel prices in Sabah.  If goods produced in the Peninsula is sold at a higher price in Sabah, there is no reason why petrol and diesel from Sabah’s oil and gas resources cannot be sold to Sabahans at a lower price especially now in 2014 Sabah will be contributing RM26.6 billion (up from RM17.88 billion) in oil revenue to Petronas and the federal government.   Let the petrol price remain higher in the Peninsula.

The Sabah government should also ask the federal government to exempt Sabah from the hikes in electricity tariffs and sugar and maintain other subsidies for Sabah.  This exemption together with the reduction in petrol and diesel prices should be able to immediately cause some reduction in consumer prices in Sabah.

The Sabah government should also seek an immediate revision of the “oil royalties” to 20% for 2014.   This will contribute an additional RM4.2 billion income for the Sabah government which can then be utilized for welfare programs for Sabahans.

The question is the Sabah government ready and willing to take action on these suggestions for the benefit of Sabahans?

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