Work with ministry, Shafie tells NGOs

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 15 Dec 2004

PETALING JAYA: The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry wants a closer working relationship with consumer-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to enable it to draw up and implement policies effectively. 

Minister Datuk Mohamed Shafie Apdal said a close rapport between the ministry and NGOs would also help the Government obtain public feedback on policies that had been proposed or implemented. 

“We in the ministry need the help of the NGOs. They can be critical but be constructive in the criticism. Don't go public with your criticism.  

“Our doors are always open. Come and discuss issues with us and I'm sure we can come to an amicable solution,” he said yesterday after launching a book entitled Contested Space? FOMCA's Engagement With The Government here. The book was written by Josie M. Fernandez, a local consumer activist. 

He said the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) was a good example of an NGO which had built a close relationship with the ministry and through this a number of problems faced by consumers were solved. 

“The NGOs must realise that they are the representatives of the people, so whatever grouses they bring up are related to the people. I am not saying that all the grouses will be solved but at least some will.” 

He said the NGOs usually touched on issues concerning quality of goods, pricing and services, which were not up to mark. 

“They have brought up the issue of products which bear the Halal trademark but were not actually halal and action had been taken.” 

On another note, Shafie said he had had an informal discussion with Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu over the proposed toll rate hike on the North-South Expressway. 

“I have informed the Works Minister that we hope that the toll increase will not burden consumers and I'm confident that the new rates will not affect consumers much,” Shafie said. – Bernama 

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