Despite talk of higher prices of goods, Malaysians should be proud that things are cheaper here compared to neighbouring countries, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.
“We should be proud as prices of goods in Singapore is 70% higher while they are 71% more expensive in Brunei,” he said when answering a question raised by G. Manivannan (PKR-Kapar) in Dewan Rakyat.
Hamzah said this when answering a question raised by G. Manivannan (PKR-Kapar) in the Dewan Rakyat about the steps being taken to control the prices of goods.
Hamzah noted that the huge differences in prices are due to differences in the gross domestic product of the respective nations.
He said that the Government had already provided subsidies for basic goods such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, gas and flour.
Hamzah said that the Government also set price controls for specific items during festive seasons.
To a supplementary question by Manivannan on whether import permits would be lifted for food items such as lentils, onions and coconuts to end supply monopolies of the items, Hamzah said this was not necessary.
He said that there were no restrictions on the imports of certain food items such as onions and potatoes.
However, he said some protection is given to manufacturers to import food items to ensure that quality and pricing of the items are maintained.
Earlier, Hamzah told the House that the Government spends about RM2bil on food subsidy.