The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Not all goods in East Malaysia more expensive than in Peninsula — Nanta
KUCHING: Not all goods sold in Sarawak and Sabah are more expensive than those sold in Peninsular Malaysia, says Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
In a statement Thursday, he said an analysis of prices showed that basket values for fresh fish, fresh seafood, as well as liquid or condensed milk in Sarawak and Sabah were cheaper than in the peninsula.
"Sabah also recorded cheaper basket values for other products made from grains, fresh meat, fresh and re-mixed milk, fresh vegetables, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, compared to the peninsula. Sarawak, on the other hand, showed cheaper basket values for coconuts and beans and dried/pickled vegetables compared to the peninsula.
"Based on this analysis, Sarawak, Sabah, and the peninsula do not show a significant price difference as the baskets in Sabah and Sarawak are offset by cheaper goods compared to the peninsula. Therefore, all consumers should take this opportunity to practise smarter spending," he added.
The December 2020 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showed that both regions did not record high average price — with Sarawak in sixth place, while Sabah was at 15th place in terms of basket price values.
Nanta said transportation costs were identified as the main factor that affected the difference in prices for necessities not originating from or processed in Sarawak or Sabah.
Other factors contributing to the price imbalance between Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and Sabah were poor distribution channels, port inefficiency, high handling charges, and inefficient ground transportation, he said.
As such, he said the government has implemented initiatives such as the Sarawak, Sabah, and Labuan Price Standardisation Programme (Port to Port) and the Essential Goods, LPG, and Community Drumming Distribution Programme, aimed at standardising prices in Sarawak and Sabah.
He also said the government has also implemented Cabotage Policy exemptions in Sarawak and Sabah to reduce shipping costs.