Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Escalating prices of essentials goods hurting hawkers - The Star

May 14, 2008

TRADERS in Seberang Jaya have asked Domestic Trade and Con-sumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahril Samad to stop talking but take immediate actions to resolve the escalating prices of essential goods.

Jalan Tenggiri Food Court Petty Traders Association chairman Azmi Razak said the minister should go down to the ground and check for himself the prices of such goods that had been on the increase over the past two months.

“Please don’t just make state-ments saying the prices of this and that are under control. We know better than him as we are directly affected by the increase.

“We go to the retail outlets to get our supply daily and we know the prices have gone up drastically.

Proof:Azmi(second left)and members of the association showing receipts of foods purchased to Arif Shah to back up their claims.

“The prices of flour, rice, con-densed milk, margarine and meat have increased by between 50% and 100% over the past two months.

“Some of our members have also resorted to the services of Ah Longs to borrow money as they cannot afford to pay their debts to their suppliers,” he said.

Azmi said the mechanism intro-duced by the minister to control the price of rice had not worked out well as the price of the commodity had shot up by 50% within the past two weeks.

“How can we make profits when the prices of goods keep on increasing. We will be blamed if we increase the prices of food we sell but nobody knows that we are actually suffering,” he added.

A trader, Mohamad Ibrahim Syed Ibrahim, who sells roti canai at the food court, said he used to buy a 25kg sack of flour at RM32.15 over two weeks ago but he had to pay RM62.15 for the same amount now.

Mohamad Ibrahim also showed receipts for goods he purchased two weeks ago and two days ago to show the difference in the prices as proof to his claims.

“Can the minister explain this?” he asked.

“I don’t think I want to do business if it causes me to lose out. I might go and look for other jobs,” he said.

He said the price of imported meat also went up by 50% while the price of 18kg margarine went up by 75%.

Seberang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah urged the Government to add- ress the problem as they had been badly affected by the price increase.

“The Government should work out an effective mechanism to check the problem as it is really happening and not merely claims,” he said.

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