PONTIAN: Gerakan's candidate for Tanjung Piai, Wendy Subramaniam has chided Karmaine Sardini over a remark that oil palm smallholders in villages should be grateful at the current price of palm oil.
The 38-year-old lawyer said this shows that the 66-year-old Pakatan Harapan candidate is not in touch with issues faced by regular Malaysians.
“I think he does not know what is the real problem faced by the rakyat. If I remember correctly, palm oil price was at more than RM400 previously and then it went down to RM230."
She said this to reporters after a walkabout at Pusat Perdagangan Pontian on Monday (Nov 4).
Earlier this year, it was reported that the price of oil palm fruit bunches had plunged from RM400-RM500 per tonne to about RM270 per tonne.
According to Wendy, the main issue plaguing locals in Tanjung Piai, which she identified during her campaign, was the low average income.
“The general public’s average income is between RM1,000 and RM1,500. So, they have difficulty buying a house of their own.
“If a house is RM180,000, your salary must be about RM4,000 in order to pay instalments. So, it’s not easy for the locals,” she said.
In a ceramah on Sunday (Nov 3) night, Karmaine reportedly told audiences that oil palm smallholders living in villages should not complain about the decline in oil palm prices.
He claimed that the current price of RM270 per tonne under the Pakatan government was higher than the RM87 per tonne under the former Barisan Nasional administration.
“If you live in a village, what do you have to pay for? If you want to eat vegetables, you can grow it yourselves. You only need to pay for fuel, you have to be grateful for this," Karmaine was quoted as saying.
Barisan candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng had previously pointed out that oil palm smallholders are facing hardship with the disappointing price outlook for the commodity and the government has to do more to address the problem.
The Tanjung Piai polls on Nov 16 will be a six-cornered fight between Pakatan’s Karmaine, Barisan’s Wee, Gerakan’s Wendy, Pan Malaysian Islamic Front (Berjasa)’s Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates - Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar and Ang Chuan Lock.
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