Thursday October 16, 2008
PM: Bring down prices of goods
By SHAHANAAZ HABIB
KUALA LUMPUR: Consumers and consumer groups should do their part to help force down the prices of goods which have remained high despite the reduction in fuel prices, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Prime Minister said although the Government had reduced petrol and diesel prices three times in the last few months, the unfortunate thing was that this had not brought down goods prices.
“This is not good. The prices of goods should come down accordingly,” he said.
“The prices of goods went up when times were bad (and international oil prices were high). But now that oil prices have been coming down, shopkeepers should be more responsible and reduce prices,” he said yesterday at Akademi Kenegaraan for the Merdeka Spirit 2008 closing ceremony.
Abdullah slammed consumer groups for leaving it entirely to the Government to bring down the prices of goods.
“What is the meaning of being a consumer group if it is only to ask the Government to do this and that? Consumers groups too have their role to play. The power of consumers is very strong. If they don’t buy at high prices, then shopkeepers will not be able to sell their goods.
“But because people are still buying the goods even though they are expensive, shopkeepers will not bring down prices,” he said.
At a press conference later, the Prime Minister was asked about Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe’s controversial comments recently that the Malays, too, were immigrants to the country just like the Chinese and Indians.
Abdullah said the Deputy Information Minister should have the opportunity to explain herself and what she meant by her comment.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Johari Baharom, who was also present at the closing ceremony, urged Abdullah to emulate his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the manner in which he left office.
Johari, who was political secretary to Dr Mahathir, said: “Dr Mahathir was retiring on Friday but on Wednesday - just two days before he stepped down as Prime Minister - he chaired his last post-Cabinet meeting like he was not going to stop.
“I would like Pak Lah to also act like Dr Mahathir did - as Prime Minister to the end.”
He said everyone should respect Abdullah as Prime Minister.