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Wednesday March 26, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: The Master Builders Association Malaysia supports the proposal by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad to scrap the price control mechanism.
Its secretary-general Yap Yoke Keong said the association would like to call for an open market system where prices were determined by market forces.
MBAM members were facing steep price increases and acute shortage of steel bars and cement and had been unable to obtain the items at government-controlled prices, he said.
Yap said local steel millers were requesting “under-table” money of RM800 to RM1,000 per tonne on top of the RM2,225 to RM2,419 price, while actual transaction prices of cement were RM2 to RM3 above the RM10.95 ceiling price.
“Steel millers are not providing the whole range of steel bar sizes and orders have been incomplete and inconsistent,” he added.
Yap urged the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to scrap price controls for steel bars and cement as well as remove tariffs on imported steel bars.
The Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) also urged the ministry to look into the issue.
President Ng Seing Liong proposed that price controls and the automatic price mechanism for cement be eliminated, and the export of steel bars and cement be banned and imports allowed.
“Controls benefit only the producers and not the industry and property buyers,” he said in a press release.
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