By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, May 5: The Habitat for Indigenous and Urban Programme (Hidup) is urging the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) to have a holistic enforcement programme to check on businesses selling essential goods while implementing the Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme (SHMMP) during the festive season.
Its chairman George Young Si Ricord Junior in a statement yesterday said KPDNHEP needs to put extra effort to enforce the price control scheme to safeguard the livelihood of the B40 households especially those in rural areas.
He noted that some of the essential items have become out of reach to consumers from the B40 households due to higher prices and noted that the number of B40 households in Sarawak, of which the majority are rural based, has now exceeded 60 per cent.
“While the list of price-controlled essential goods (for SHMMP) is an important tool, of equal importance too is enforcement.
“Many a times, laws and regulations meant to promote and safeguard the well-being of citizens failed to meet the stated objectives because of poor enforcement.
“We would like to point out that while there are many similarities between rural based and urban based B40 households, there are also differences about which the enforcement arm of the KPDNHEP must take into account and monitor certain food items so that they are kept within the reach of urban based B40 households,” he said.
George asserted that some unscrupulous businessmen had taken advantage of their stocks of essential items and charged a higher price to earn a profit on their own at the expense of struggling consumers and families.
From his experience visiting the market himself, George shared the sentiment that consumers who have visited the wet market since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year can relate that many types of fish are now out of their reach and so are vegetables.
Therefore, he added Hidup urges KPDNHEP to have a multi-pronged enforcement programme, one combining strong enforcement by officers from the ministry and by having avenues by which complaints over unscrupulous practices can be made to the ministry via short message services (SMS) or WhatsApp. — DayakDaily