MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, January 31, 2022

Why not liberalise APs for veg, too, says consumer group


Fomca says it is pointless to only have a limited number of import permits for vegetables as it will only enrich a certain segment of society.

PETALING JAYA: Consumer groups have urged Putrajaya to liberalise approved permits (APs) for vegetables, meat and seafood to reduce the escalating prices of foodstuff and put in place concrete measures to increase food security.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president N Marimuthu said it was pointless to have limited permits for vegetables, including mangoes, coconuts, papayas, meat and nine different types of seafood, because it gave room to “a select few to determine the prices of food”.

“Do the right thing by getting rid of APs, including on vegetables, so that the rakyat will support you (the government).

“APs may be making only a certain segment of the people rich, at the expense of the majority,” he told FMT.

N Marimuthu.

He proposed that the government encourage free trade so that the competition would lead to a drop in prices.

“Why only liberalise APs for chicken?” he asked.

Earlier today, the government announced that it would allow all AP holders to import whole chicken, having previously limited it only to bringing in pieces.

Hypermarkets would also be allowed to import whole chicken on their own, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement after chairing a special meeting on food production with the National Action Council on Cost of Living.

In addition, the ceiling price for chicken has been reduced by 20 sen to RM8.70 per kg. The price of eggs will remain the same. This will be effective from Feb 5 to June 5.

In December, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim described the rise in chicken and vegetable prices “a national crisis”.

He told the Dewan Rakyat that the increased cost was common knowledge “but no one is aware of any immediate action by the government to tackle the problem”.

Jacob George, president of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, echoed Fomca’s views.

However, he warned that opening up APs was still a short-term measure as the main concern was still food security.

“We are not really in control when we have to be dependent on markets beyond our borders,” he said.

George also said that the long-term solution would be to increase food security locally because the prices of imported foodstuff depended on the strength of the ringgit against the US dollar.

Fomca had previously said Malaysia had ample land to increase food production, noting that 103,563ha in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan had been identified as being idle.

The country imported RM55.4 billion worth of foodstuff in 2020, up from RM51.46 billion in 2019. The amount till November 2021 was RM36.09 billion. - FMT

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.