Price controls can’t curb rising costs

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Dec 2015

PETALING JAYA: Measures like price controls during festive seasons are a mere drop in the ocean thanks to the skyrocketing cost of living, say analysts and individuals.

Independent economist Lee Heng Guie said that the price controls were stop-gap measures that do not last.

“Imposing controls on necessities essential for preparing for the festive season doesn’t guarantee prices will remain stable after that period,” he said, adding that the problem in Malaysia was that the price hikes had been bunched together.

He said the Government was on a fiscal reduction path, but it should process and pace the rationalisation along with services such as train fares so that the increases do not all come at one-go.

“This adds to the burden of the average Malayaian,” he said, adding that economists had projected a higher year-on-year inflation rate for the first quarter of next year.

IT manager Emmanuel Joseph, who is looking forward to celebrating Christmas this year, said that the price controls didn’t make a difference.

“It covers a small fraction of consumables, while things like transport and petrol which are mandatory costs to get to work are on the rise,” said Emmanuel, 32, who has had to change many aspects of his lifestyle to keep afloat.

“I have cut down on the number of visits to the cinema and instead, wait for the movies to play on Astro.

“I also opt for local coffee outlets instead of foreign ones and eat out less. I have cut down on entertainment, and save it instead in anticipation of a worsening economy.”

Production manager Sheril A. Bustaman quipped that she has “started carrying a bottle of water around” to pinch pennies.

“I try not to pay for drinks of any sort, to be honest. And I try to eat out less.”

Sheril, 24, echoed the sentiment that the price controls were not enough to combat tough times.

“It won’t make a difference if they keep raising prices for the rest of the year.’’

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