Alexander Nanta Linggi

KUCHING: Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi has refuted claims by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the price of chicken was RM3 per kg during PH’s reign compared to RM7.50 per kg presently.

Nanta said Anwar’s claim was baseless and misleading the public.

“I would like to jog Datuk Seri Anwar’s memory that checks conducted on the previous gazetted record found that the maximum price of chicken was set at RM7.50 per kg, similar to the maximum set price in the current Festive Season Maximum Price Control Scheme (SHMMP).

“Perhaps, he could also ask former minister (Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution) for certainty as the previous SHMMP was signed by the latter,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Nanta pointed out that the pricing of consumer goods was not political, but used certain mechanisms set by officials of various government agencies. This mechanism was similar to that used during the previous PH administration.

“In fact, in the SHMMP this time around, the ministry has increased the number of controlled items to 35 items compared to 27 items in 2019 when the country was under PH administration,” he said.

He said claims made by certain quarters that the price of goods including chicken was on the rise was a matter of perception because it was based on the basic economic theory of demand and supply.

“To compare the relatively low price during the movement control order (MCO) period is unfitting as demand was declining with many business activities and daily life stalled. This led to a surplus of supply, which had forced traders and suppliers to lower prices of their goods.

“The situation is different now after the relaxation of MCO and the implementation of conditional movement control order (CMCO), where most of the economic activities and people’s lives have slowly returned to normal,” he said, adding that as festive season was approaching, demand for goods has increased, causing prices to return as usual.

He pointed out that efforts to control prices of goods were not made solely during the festive season, but ever since the MCO was implemented, to ensure adequate supply and also increases in price of essential goods.

“Thus, the issue of KPDNHEP not taking serious action in controlling prices of good is unfounded.

“The allegations are also unfair as KPDNHEP officials and authorities are risking their own safety and health by conducting discussion, planning, inspections and enforcement operations during this difficult times especially when the country is facing the deadly Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.