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KUCHING, July 14: The prices of goods are basically unchanged even after the goods and services tax (GST) was zero-rated, admitted Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen.
He reckoned this could be due to consumers having more disposable income and having higher purchasing power.
“The prices are stable, no big fluctuations. But although the prices are still the same, I received feedback from traders here that their businesses have pick up slightly, compared to before, when GST was at 6 per cent,” said Chong during his first official walkabout at Stutong Community Market this morning.
Accompanying him were Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong and state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs director Datuk Stanley Tan.
They spent about an hour greeting members of the public and receiving feedback from the traders and shoppers at the market.
Dr Yii said the meet-and-greet session included listening and jotting down the public’s concerns and complaints.
“We’ve heard from some stall owners and members of the public on the prices of goods, especially after the removal of GST. So far, most raw food products did not show any drop in prices yet. They are the same as before the GST was zero-rated.
“The cancellation of the GST only affects the handling fees of those produce, so it has not affected the prices yet,” said Dr Yii.
He added that the ringgit was still recovering; therefore, imported food, such as those from China, was still on the costlier side.
However, canned and processed food had shown a drop in prices.
“We will continue to monitor the prices of goods for the benefit of the public and at the same time (ensure) a reasonable profitable environment for business owners.
“We are very encouraged by the support in the area. We also appreciate their advice as well. We will definitely value it and hopefully serve them better,” Dr Yii said. — DayakDaily