Federal government called to lift APs for more food products

Kong (black shirt) chairing the meeting.

By William Isau

SIBU, May 22: Sibu Import and Export Wholesaler Federation wants the federal government to include more food products where Approved Permits (APs) have been abolished.

Speaking at the federation’s 31st annual general meeting (AGM) today, its president Kong Ket Dee said that only a small number of food products would not be subjected to AP.

Kong said this following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement on Wednesday (May 18) that the government had decided to do away with the need for such APs.

Ismail Sabri said the cancellation of the food import permit was due to various factors such as inflation, rising oil prices, extreme weather, the Covid-19 epidemic, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“To ensure sufficient food supply, the cancellation of the AP, given the current situation, is a smart move. However, according to reports, only a small number of food products are on the list.

“Therefore, we hope that the government will expand the number of food products where the import permits are lifted,” Kong said.

Kong also advised those in the industry to make good use of this benefit.

He also hoped that the government would take immediate action to tackle the rising cost of living.

“The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has affected the global agricultural market, causing commodity prices to soar, and the prices of wheat, corn and oil crops, as well as fertilisers, continue to go up, and more global food buyers are turning to India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer for wheat supplies.

“However, India suddenly announced a ban on wheat exports on May 13. The Indian government said that the ban on wheat exports was to ensure domestic food security in the case of soaring wheat prices in the international market,” he said.

With this move by India, he said the Chinese government should feel that the food crisis will gradually appear in the Chinese market.

“If the Chinese government does not adjust its development strategy and encourage farmers to plant more rice and increase production, our food supply will also be in crisis,” he warned.

He added that federation members are also impacted by the global inflation that has spread from Europe and the United States to Asia, where prices have shot up, firmly compressing the real income of households.

“We are not immune to these, especially with the weaker ringgit, shortage of original product supply, a sluggish local market that significantly reduced purchasing power, and rapidly shrinking profit margins making the industry more complex and miserable.

“The impact of this phenomenon on the business community is far-reaching,” he said. — DayakDaily