By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 22: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government should stop creating the ‘feel good factor’ over cheaper things post-Sales and Services Tax (SST) implementation because the reality is that consumers are still feeling the pinch of the growing cost of living.
Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general Milton Foo pointed out that people on the street did not feel the reduction of prices of goods post-SST, which Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen mentioned yet again recently.
“I have visited supermarkets, called up merchants and retailers, as well as spoken to consumers at large the past few days. But the consumer sentiment is on a downward trend since SST was introduced,” he told a press conference at the SUPP headquarters here today.
Foo was responding to Chong’s statement on Jan 19 published in the Malay Mail saying that the prices of 70 per cent of the goods sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets in Kuching have shown a marked decrease after the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and then replaced with SST.
“Stop misleading the people because it is not the case at all. So, I am demanding that he (Chong) furnish and disclose the comparison list of the 291 items that priced have been reduced since SST was implemented,” he urged.
The ministry, he added, had conducted a survey on 419 items, and out of which, Chong stated that the prices of 291 items has been reduced.
However, Foo said that the special sales and promotions for goods in supermarkets and hypermarkets were totally different and cannot be linked to SST in the reduction of prices of goods.
“They are not the same. And according to merchants that I have spoken to, factors leading to higher costs of goods include SST apart from the weak ringgit, minimum wages policy and global economic downturn.
“All these contributed to prices of things to go up and not go down. So, don’t create the feel-good factor when the sentiment is otherwise,” he added. — DayakDaily