KUCHING, July 14: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Stakan chief Sim Kiang Chiok is irked with the reply from Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen when the latter was asked to reveal the remaining seven Sarawak food and beverages (F&B) manufacturers who have been granted a licence to import sugar.
Chong replied by saying the information could be found out by going through the proper channel by getting any MP to submit a question in Parliament.
“SUPP Stakan finds the statement by Chong recently that we can get the names of the seven new sugar importers by asking the Minister in Parliament by any MPs, is a strange answer as he has the information when the announcement of the new licences was issued.
“Why do people need to get this information from the Minister at Parliament? Is he not empowered to give this simple information or is simply too weak and a powerless Deputy Minister?” Sim questioned in a statement today.
He said SUPP did not oppose the issuance of more sugar import licences or permits, but welcomes the open policy to break the monopoly in sugar imports.
However, Chong’s reluctance in announcing the new importers’ names is most baffling, Sim said, adding that Chong’s delay in announcing the remaining names would only create an air of distrust and a perception of negative honesty of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
He said before PH became the government, the people could clearly know who was importing sugar, the merchants, and even on the Internet the people could easily obtain the relevant information.
However, according to Sim, now the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, under Chong as the deputy minister, has become closed and non-transparent, and the new importers’ names has become so highly confidential.
“Even Stampin Confectionery Sdn Bhd (the only F&B that revealed its name) is known to have an import licence because of voluntary self-declaration,” said Sim.
He requested Chong to not just be transparent with the names of the manufacturers but also to reveal and take steps to ensure that issuing new sugar importing licences or permits would benefit the public by reducing the cost of sugar so that their finished product prices would be reduced.
“Where and what are the benefits of these new sugar licences to the ordinary people? We need to be satisfied that all the new importers of sugar are transferring the savings from the cheaper cost of sugar to their end-products so that we the public will enjoy the lower price and lower cost of living… or are these companies making higher profits without reducing their prices with lower cost of sugar?
“Why can’t sugar import be free from any licence so that all Malaysian will enjoy lower cost to help them with the high cost of living?
“The other question is, how is the ministry going to satisfy the public that these importers are not going to import to sell to the public for quick profit rather than for their own production use?” Sim asked. — DayakDaily