Monday, May 23, 2022

AP removal by PM ought to be applauded - and, justly more AP must be removed to be fair to Malaysians? We are watching

AP (Approved Permit) could be abused  - if one does not have an approved permit, one cannot IMPORT or EXPORT certain items.  

ONLY those with AP can export or import > that means that producers of certain product need to go through one with approved permit if they want to export their products to overseas. Likewise, they cannot even import or bring in certain products unless they go through certain persons/companies having the required AP.

Those with the APs hence have a lot of power to SET PRICES of goods to be exported, or for goods imported >>> if you do not want to pay/sell at the rate offered - too BAD.

Who gets the APs is also key? Many are connected persons/companies...

Remember the Bird's Nest - well, suddenly the government is said that exporters need an AP - and the companies that had the APs seems to only want to pay a lesser amount, compared to what the Malaysian bird's nest producers could get when they did it themselves directly exporting/selling their product. Remember, how the rising prices of birds' nest enjoyed by so many who ventured into that business were saddened by the much lower prices offered by those with AP. Of course, reasonably the AP holder can still sell much higher to the customer/s overseas.

Many Malaysians do not know that most of the vegetables, fish, meat, etc that we purchase in our markets are NOT LOCAL PRODUCTS - it has been imported from other countries.

To date, Malaysia has been spending over RM50 billion a year on imported basic food items such as rice (30 per cent), beef (78 per cent), mutton (90 per cent), and round cabbage (60 per cent).The amount of the country's imported food continued to increase at a rate of 4.1 per cent a year, from RM45.3 billion in 2015 to RM55.4 billion last year.- NST, 19/5/2022

Now, the AP holders allowed to import these food items can CONTROL prices. Sometimes, the State buys the product from AP holders, and then pour in state monies, i.e. to bring down the prices and then supply the food distributors who supplies the market vendors, etc > so the price we pay for our chili, vegetables, meat, fish, etc ... are 'subsidized' by State..

AP holders sometimes get 'trapped' by agreements with suppliers of food overseas - sometimes for long periods, having to pay for such products at a higher prices, even what the actual farmers sell to suppliers may have declined... Worse, when State governments are also tied with such agreements with existing AP holders.

With the removal of AP - it allows for others to also bring in food items at a much lower price, and the removal of exclusivity of AP holders results in increased competition meaning at the end local consumers will likely enjoy much lower prices.

Hence, the move by Prime Minister was a BRAVE move - that can reduce prices of food imports, and the price for food that the consumer has to pay. Imagine the pressure that he would have by many politically-linked AP holders for what he had done has certainly affected their income/profits.

If certain food products are produced locally sufficient for Malaysia, all Malaysia need to do prohibit the importation, or do other things needed to help local farmers/local breeders/fisher folk - one mechanism is the purchase by government at a FAIR PRICE, and the later selling to distributors/sellers with or without subsidies, and determining the prices for consumers.

PRICE CONTROL OF BASIC FOOD ITEMS must be restored for all times, not just for festivities - this existed in the past, but have been removed by the past BN government - now price control only for certain festivities. Price Control for BASIC items should be for all times - and the government need to identify WHICH ITEMS - I would suggest - Cooking Oil, Cooking Gas, Rice, Chicken(we need one meat item), Eggs, Milk, Flour, Onions, Garlic, Vegetable(1 or 2), Bread >>>> this is key to help all, especially the poor >>> as a duty of care, we do not want anyone to suffer from undernourishment. This price control must be brought back for BASIC FOOD ITEMS.

Did you know that they removed chicken from the list of price controlled items in May 2008 after GE12? ... shocked that this Malaysian government chicken and bread from the list of price controlled items. They also removed 'cement' from the list of controlled items since June 2008.-Chicken, egg, bread must be a price controlled items - Why are our MPs not fighting for these basic issues that affect all Malaysians

The question is whether PRICE CONTROL for basic food items is needed in Malaysia? The answer is YES - noting that a majority of those in Malaysia are poor, and will suffer the unchecked rise in prices in basic food related items.

Some in the Opposition have been critical of the Prime Minister's decision - and the question we must ask is WHY - do they have a better solution to keep prices low? 

Removing the AP would have affected the cronies and/or others connected, and removing this middle 'AP Holder' certainly helps in most likely reducing prices for the consumer.

Besides AP removal, and price control, the government has to analyze the reasons for price increase by the food producers locally. Those involved in fish, chicken and others in Malaysia complains about the increases in animal feed, fertilizers > should the government focus in production of cheaper animal/fish feed and fertilizers > should the government nationalize this with the aim of reducing cost to local food producers - hence keeping price of food affordable for ALL.

Remember, that Malaysia imports so much vegetables, including Chili, simply because local production is just not enough. Even the local production of chicken, beef, mutton, etc is simply not enough. Most of the fish in the market even the Ikan Kembung are imported...

PRICE CONTROL - is not simply about forcing the food sellers in market to sell at a lower price. It means also the food producer/distributor does the same - we do not want the poor seller to only suffer, so government too may actively step in to 'subsidize' the process.

Local farmers/fisherman/producers also should not 'suffer' - so, once again, the government need to step in to help - to reduce cost of production or to subsidize cost of production...

At the end of the day, the role of government is to ensure that us, in Malaysia, are able to eat sufficiently to remain healthy - it is sad when Malaysians end up malnourished simply because of poverty...   

Now, the government is talking about abolition of AP - but be careful if they simply impose some other PERMITS - and the main problem is who gets these Permits > the practice of giving permits to cronies or politically connected persons directly must end >>> An OPEN TENDER like process is important to prevent abuse or discriminatory enrichment of some.

Remember the ISA - the government abolished it, BUT then amended the POCA and enacted new laws like POTA and SOSMA, whereby the end result is WORSE than before... so, watch carefully what the government does.

Abolish AP is good - but do not create new permit requirements where the new permit/approvals are still given to a selected few > the process must be OPEN and Transparent - and the good of the people the primary concern???

Opposition need to support good things the government does > do not simply criticize because the idea and action comes from government. Pakatan Harapan, whilst they governed, failed to address the question of food prices, and the access of all(especially poorer Malaysians) to basic food. Opposition before could simply criticize as they never got a chance to be in government - but today, after 22 months in government post GE14, whenever you criticize solutions advanced by government to deal with a particular problem/issue, people will ask why did you not resolve the problem when in power? Do not just criticize, suggest a alternative better solution...

AP abolition right move to ensure continuity of food supplies, says minister

Traders report facing chicken supply disruption at the wet market in Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya, May 22,2022. — Picture by Devan Manuel
Traders report facing chicken supply disruption at the wet market in Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya, May 22,2022. — Picture by Devan Manuel

PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — The abolition of the approved permits (AP) for food products is in line with the government’s desire to ensure continuity in supplies, said Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.

He said it is also expected to create excess of supplies in the market that would benefit consumers as food products are easily available compared to the current situation.

“The market involving basic necessities will be more competitive and is projected to trigger a drop in prices based on a certain quantum, depending on the quality and packaging aspects,” he said in a statement today.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had said the government agreed not to impose AP for the import of foodstuff with immediate effect to ensure sufficient food supply in the country.

However, he said it would take some time for the AP abolition to have a positive impact on consumers as it depended on several factors such as the procurement process, halal certification and customs inspection.

Nanta, meanwhile, welcomed the Cabinet meeting which has been scheduled to start earlier tomorrow (May 23) as it would determine the government’s intervention measures in resolving the issue over daily necessities, especially chicken.

He said the intervention should take the cross-ministry and whole of government approach to ensure that efforts to solve the problem are not implemented in silos and with no continuity.

Earlier, Ismail Sabri announced that the Cabinet meeting tomorrow would discuss the issue of rising cost of living and food supply.

He (prime minister) said the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) and the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI), would each present a report on the issue, including the short-term and long-term plans to address it. — Bernama - Malay Mail, 22/5/2022

Menterinya, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob berkata, kementerian menggalakkan pengimportan ayam bulat dari negara lain seperti Australia dan benua Eropah untuk mengurangkan kebergantungan terhadap bekalan ayam tempatan. - Utusan Online, 12/7/2013, Harga ayam naik mendadak


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