SUPP’s claims of price increase baseless, says Chong

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Jan 24: Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen today took a swipe at Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) leaders for making sweeping statements on price hike that are not supported by facts and figures.

In a press statement, Chong insisted that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had been doing a far better job than the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government in terms of price control and lightening the burden of the people.

“I have yesterday published the lists of prices of some of the items on my Facebook (page) that shows about 70 per cent of items under our surveillance had their prices decreased as compared to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) era.

“I do not deny that the prices of some items have gone up, but for SUPP to exaggerate and irresponsibly claim that prices of all goods have gone up is clearly incorrect,” said Chong.

In fact, he said, the national inflation rates for the last seven months under the PH government (June–December 2018) had been substantially lower than the corresponding seven months under the BN government in 2017.

The inflation rate for June 2017 was at 3.4 per cent as compared to June 2018 at 0.8 per cent. And for July 2017, it was at 3.1 per cent compared to July 2018 at 0.9 per cent.

The same pattern was recorded for the following five months: August 2017 inflation rate (3.6 per cent), August 2018 inflation rate (0.2 per cent); September 2017 (4.2 per cent), September 2018 (0.3 per cent); October 2017 (3.7 per cent), October 2018 (0.6 per cent); November 2017 (3.4%), November 2018 (0.2%); and December 2017 (3.5 per cent), December 2018 (0.2 per cent).

“We use the same methodology to calculate the inflation rates as used by the previous BN government. Yet, under the PH government, the month-to-month inflation rates are kept lower than 1 per cent for the past seven months, whereas under the BN government, for the corresponding period, the inflation rates were consistently higher than 3 per cent per month, with September 2017 reaching 4.2 per cent.

“One of the reasons that we, PH government, are able to keep the inflation rate low is because for the months since July till November 2018, when the actual prices of RON95 and diesel were supposedly RM2.40/l and RM2.50/l respectively, we fixed the prices at RM2.20/l and RM2.18/l respectively,” he said.

The other reason is the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Chong added.

He said for SUPP to accuse the PH government of causing high costs of living, the party leaders should be reminded that the situation would have been much worse if there were no change of government on May 9, 2018, as proven by the track records of more than 3 per cent inflation rate per month under the BN’s administration.

On top of that, Chong said UMNO would continue to govern and corruption would continue to flourish in Malaysia.

“The PH government appreciates the fact that most people are suffering from the high costs of living.

“In trying to address this issue, we have formed the National Cost of Living Action Council, a cross-ministries committee, comprising representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Ministry of Agriculture.

“More measures to address the high cost of living issue will be implemented this year,” he assured. — DayakDaily