PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says an investigation is necessary to determine whether the practice of local industrial monopoly in Sarawak resulted in high cement prices in the state.
Although the government managed to curb rising cement prices in Peninsular Malaysia last week, the price of the commodity in Sarawak is significantly higher, he said in a statement Sunday (June 23).
"Cement is a basic building material. Any substantial increase in cement prices will be redistributed into the economy.
"This will then affect the buying power of consumers," he said.
Lim said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail successfully demonstrated the government's commitment to control the cost of living by restraining cement prices after discussions last week with the companies in the cement industry.
He said the measure addressed public concern over the possibility of an increase in cement prices by as much as 40% in Peninsular Malaysia, as reported in the media last week.
"It also eased public concern that the major local producers of cement have abused their market power to raise prices unfairly," he said.
Lim also said that for the time being, the inflation rate for consumers in Malaysia remains low and stable.
The Consumer Price Index for April 2019 rose only 0.2%, at the same rate as in the previous month, he said. - Bernama