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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 31: Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen has advised Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary Milton Foo to polish up his English before making a baseless statement.
Chong was referring to a news report published in a local daily yesterday, where Foo was quoted as claiming that Chong had said the prices of goods had gone down by 70 per cent.
“It is rubbish … putting words in my mouth saying that I said prices have gone down by 70 per cent. I don’t know if Borneo Post reported wrongly or Milton Foo made the wrong allegation. I think this is important (to clarify),” he told a press conference after launching the Chinese New Year Festive Season Price Control Scheme at Stutong Market here today.
Chong made clear that he had stated that based on surveys conducted by the ministry’s enforcement officers or price checkers, they found that out of 100 items surveyed in supermarkets in Kuching, 70 per cent of the surveyed items had reduced in prices.
“This is simple English, and I don’t know if Milton Foo understands or not. It is not like prices have gone down by 70 per cent. There is a huge difference,” he said.
He, thus, urged SUPP to either make a factual statement or polish up their English if the problem was in understanding the language before opening their mouths.
Chong emphasised that there were a lot of factors that determined the prices of goods, including supply and demand, weather, harvesting or yield as well as government policies.
Two days ago, Foo highlighted that there was a discrepancy between the ministry’s list of cheaper goods and the retailers’ and merchants’ list of more expensive goods.
While Chong insisted that prices of many consumer goods in the market had gone down after the implementation of Sales and Services Tax (SST), Foo argued that based on his observations and after retailers’ produced their pricing list, the prices of goods had in fact increased.
Foo told Chong that the SST policy had little or no impact on reducing the burden on the people as the cost of living continued to rise.
He then suggested that Chong organised a shopping trip with consumers to bring them to buy cheaper goods in town. — DayakDaily