Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO and TARRENCE TAN
AN argument erupted in the Dewan Rakyat over rising prices of chicken and fresh produce.
It was sparked when Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi was challenged by Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) to keep his earlier promise of resolving the issue of rising prices of food within two weeks.
“You gave an assurance which was published in a newspaper on Nov 24 to resolve the issue by Dec 9.
“Will you take responsibility for your statement?” Lim asked.
Nanta explained that he was willing to take responsibility for his statement adding, however, that the issue was a complex one that was not only dealt with by his ministry.
“You should know that the matter is very complex and not entirely in the hands of my ministry.
“If you want to challenge me and ask for my resignation, how about YB Port Dickson (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) when he promised that if (Pakatan Harapan) won the election, petrol prices would be lowered the next day.
“But petrol prices did not go down,” Nanta said.
Lim earlier told Nanta not to penalise small businesses to stabilise prices of food as they, too, were victims of rising cost of operations.
He suggested using the windfall tax to set up a fund to assist small businesses that were affected.
Nanta said that his ministry was taking a holistic approach in the matter despite calls for price controls to be imposed and stricter enforcement against them.
Earlier, Nanta informed the House that the government had allocated RM262mil to stabilise chicken prices by assisting poultry farmers who are affected by the rising cost of poultry feed.
Out of that amount, he said about RM200mil would be set aside to provide six-month interest free soft loans for poultry feed.
He also said that a Jualan Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family Sales) campaign would be launched at 222 parliamentary constituencies on Dec 4.
Selected fresh produce would be offered during the campaign which would be between 15% and 20% cheaper.
The campaign would be held twice a month.