PRICE HIKES BRING BEN­E­FITS

‘Pricier sugar, petrol in­creases health aware­ness, pub­lic trans­port usage’

New Straits Times - - News -

FER­NANDO FONG KUALA LUMPUR kee.soon@nst.com.my

THE gov­ern­ment has done well in tack­ling el­e­ments that con­trib­ute to the ris­ing cost of liv­ing, es­pe­cially in the ur­ban ar­eas, says the Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of Pe­nang.

Its ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer, N.V. Sub­barow, said the in­crease in the re­tail price of sugar and petrol, de­spite ini­tial pub­lic dis­may, had brought ben­e­fits.

“Pricier sugar had led to an in­creased amount of at­ten­tion on re­duc­ing high-sugar items from the diet.

“As for the in­crease of petrol price, it en­cour­ages pub­lic trans­port use, es­pe­cially among car users.

“These help con­sumers learn to de­pend less on gov­ern­ment aid and sub­si­dies,” he told the New Sun­day Times.

Sub­barow was com­ment­ing on the Na­tional Key Re­sults Area (NKRA) on Ad­dress­ing the Ris­ing Cost of Liv­ing, which achieved 100 per cent suc­cess in the Key Per­for­mance In­dex (KPI) for 2016.

The NKRA is part of the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme (NTP), which also con­sists of the Strate­gic Re­form Ini­tia­tive (SRI) and Na­tional Key Eco­nomic Ar­eas (NKEAs).

Sub­barow added that con­sumers con­tinue to grap­ple with ris­ing prices and con­sumer sen­ti­ment was weak, added with lack­lus­tre feel­ings about the econ­omy.

He said the tax should be in­creased on prod­ucts or ser­vices which were the ob­jects of wide­spread dis­ap­proval, such as al­co­hol, to­bacco and sug­ar­sweet­ened bev­er­ages such as soft drinks.

At the same time, in­cen­tives should be given to farm­ers and fish­er­men so that veg­eta­bles and fishes can be pro­duced in greater quan­tity and at a lower cost.

The SRI’s Pub­lic Ser­vice De­liv­ery Trans­for­ma­tion, which aims sole fo­cus on the new busi­ness.

“We did have some sav­ings, but it was not enough to buy the ma­chines and pack­ag­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” Dzul­fadli said.

The hus­band-and-wife team at­trib­uted their suc­cess to a num­ber of gov­ern­ment agen­cies such as Vet­eri­nary Depart­ment, Mara to ac­cel­er­ate the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to be­come more ef­fi­cient in both busi­ness and pub­lic-re­lated ser­vices, scored a KPI of 113.3 per cent.

So­cial ac­tivist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the pub­lic ser­vice de­served its due as it had im­proved much over a wide range of ar­eas.

He said among the most sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment was the in­tro­duc­tion of Ur­ban Trans­for­ma­tion and Muda Agri­cul­ture De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (Mada). These agen­cies ex­tended as­sis­tance in var­i­ous forms, chang­ing their fam­ily life for the bet­ter.

Dzul­fadli said with the grants, cour­ses and pack­ag­ing fa­cil­i­ties pro­vided by the agen­cies, he set up a frozen food whole­sale and Cen­tres (UTC).

“UTC is the yardstick to mea­sure the ef­fi­ciency of pub­lic ser­vice de­liv­ery as it of­fers a myr­iad of ser­vices un­der one roof, which ben­e­fits mil­lions of users,” he said.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment must put a stop to the poor main­te­nance cul­ture, said Lee.

“A strong main­te­nance cul­ture is nec­es­sary for the in­ter­est of pub­lic, but it is sadly lack­ing in the civil ser­vice.

“It is a widely recog­nised prob­lem which has af­fected the qual­ity of pub­lic prop­er­ties such as roads and toi­lets,” he added.

He said the com­mon ex­cuse given was the lack of bud­get, which was un­ac­cept­able.

Lee said it was high time the gov­ern­ment pri­ori­tised to prop­erty man­age­ment, so that pub­lic prop­er­ties would not be ne­glected.

The progress re­port in­volv­ing the NTP 2016 was pre­sented re­cently by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

Started in 2009, the NTP is the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to pro­pel Malaysia to­wards be­com­ing a high-in­come na­tion. re­tail man­u­fac­tur­ing plant at the cost of RM100,000 at Se­riab here.

“At present, our DNM Bumi Khal­i­fah Trad­ing pro­duces the frozen prod­ucts un­der the Wawa and Falique se­ries. Our spe­cial­ties are cheesy kuih such as curry puffs, samosas and onion rings.”

PIC BY AZHAR RAMLI

Dzul­fadli El­lias with his com­pany’s frozen food prod­uct range, in­clud­ing cheese curry puffs, at the Perlis state-level Small and Medium En­treprises Week 2017 in Kan­gar on Fri­day.

FILE PIC

The in­crease in the price of petrol en­cour­ages pub­lic trans­port use, es­pe­cially among car users, says Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion of Pe­nang.

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