IT is almost a year since Pakatan Harapan took over as the government from Barisan Nasional. It has definitely been a tough and, in certain instances, rough journey for our new Cabinet ministers, but overall they have performed well, taking into consideration the fact that almost all of them are first-timers, without the necessary experience.
By now, other than the Prime Minister, each member of the Cabinet would have realised that being in the opposition is probably a much easier task than being the government. Appeasing everyone, especially in a multiracial and multireligious society like ours, is definitely not an easy task.
One major issue that has always been used as a yardstick to measure government performance is its success in managing the spiralling cost of living, and for this the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry is under a constant spotlight. Cost of living issues are not something new; they are perennial and complicated with no easy solutions. They would require major policy reviews and targeted action to mitigate if not overcome them.
The Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) commends the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, for being proactive in attending to a myriad of issues impacting consumers, and for working hard to strategically explore acceptable solutions.
Other than implementing the hugely successful nationwide Food Bank initiative which has benefited many, for the first time we have witnessed suppliers being hauled up for profiteering offences -- three eggs suppliers were charged for raising their prices. This type of action was not previously seen, and now, it would definitely send a message to businesses that the government has little tolerance for profiteers.
The MCM further welcomes the minister’s announcement that the government wants to tackle profiteering that occurs in the supply chain, which has led to the escalating prices of goods. It is critical that layers and activity within the supply chain are analysed and managed so that benefits can be channelled to consumers in the form of lower prices.
As for us consumers, being mindful of the limited resources that the ministry’s enforcement team has at its disposal, it is critical that we take proactive steps in highlighting issues so that quick and efficient enforcement action can be taken and holistic protection can be achieved.
We cannot expect others to fight our battles completely if we are not willing to do anything for ourselves. Merely pointing fingers will not lead us anywhere.
In a news report yesterday (“Focus on affordability”, The Star; online at bit.ly/star_minister),
Saifuddin rated his performance at 6.5/10 but we at the MCM would say it is at 8/10.
DARSHAN SINGH DHILLON
Malaysia Consumers Movement