KUALA LUMPUR: A consumer group has expressed their disappointment with the government’s decision to remove price controls on chicken and eggs, along with the increase in the service tax.
Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) education officer N. V. Subbarow said removing the temporary price ceiling on chicken and eggs would not only result in higher prices for these items but also have a ripple effect on related products.
This, he added would add burden to the people.
“Every household purchases eggs and chicken, as they are our favourite food items. If the prices are not regulated, they could be sold at significantly higher prices.
“Who can consumers turn to with their complaints?”
“The poor will face problems,” he said when contacted.
Subbarow said other chicken-related products, including burgers, fried rice, and even satay, would likely see price increases as well.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, when delivering the 2024 Budget 2024 today said the temporary ceiling price imposed for chicken and eggs will be waived to allow room for the market to freely manoeuvre, ensuring uninterrupted supply.
He said the current trend showed that the supply of eggs and chicken had stabilised and the present retail price is far below the controlled ceiling price.
The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) secretary-general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman however believed that the move would help to ensure ample supply in the market.
“Right now, the government is only imposing price control on the normal grade eggs, variants such as the omega, or free-range eggs are not controlled.
“Sometimes when I go to the market to buy eggs, I’m told that regular eggs are out of stock, and all that’s available are the omega eggs.
“So I believe that if we streamline the price we can prevent any attempt to manipulate supply,” he said, adding that he believed that egg prices would remain affordable.
Meanwhile, when commenting on the increase in the service tax from six to eight percent, Maamor expressed his hope that the government would consider excluding logistic services from the list of taxed goods and services.
He said this was crucial to prevent businesses from taking advantage and increasing their prices.
“It is acceptable for them to increase the service tax on other items like karaoke and even broker services because broker services, for instance, involve only one layer – it’s between you and the broker.
“However, logistic services involve a series of users or a chain of intermediaries before reaching the end users. If every user in the chain makes a small increase, at the end of the day, it’s the end user who will bear the biggest price hike,” he said.
Anwar in his 2024 Budget presentation said the increase in service tax however does not apply to services such as food and beverages as well as telecommunications.
“The government also intends to expand the scope of taxable services, including logistics, brokerage, underwriting and karaoke services,” he said.
Article by: New Straits Times
2024 BUDGET: CAP SAYS REMOVING PRICE CEILING ON CHICKEN, EGGS WILL RESULT IN HIGHER PRICES AND BURDEN PEOPLE