Ismail Sabri is feted by Umno but a fool to others

Despite all the effort and talk about promoting unity and reconciliation for the past umpteen years, Umno and its agent provocateurs are out to sabotage that very idea. In fact, unity, reconciliation and national development are the least of their concerns. Agriculture Minister Ismail Sabri’s call for Malays to boycott Chinese products seems to score political points with his Umno colleagues and supporters. Only in Umno are there takers for such perverted and bigoted calls. And he has even emerged a hero.

To reduce food prices, the agriculture minister could have reintroduced the green revolution. Food security is of great worry all over the world. The minister could have proposed allocation of more land for vegetables and fruit and dairy farming. This increased agricultural production will reduce the prices of vegetables.  There is no need to boycott any products.

It is unfortunate that the agriculture minister and policy makers are not able to think creatively and boldly about new initiatives to reduce the high prices of food and consumer goods, especially when the international oil price has dropped by more than half. Since this is an Umno government, it is Umno’s duty, not that of the Chinese community, to find ways to reduce prices. The crony capitalism policies adopted by the Umno leadership since 1980s have led to the privatisation of essential services and goods.

The privatisation of Bernas, Malaysian Sugar Refinery, IPPs, seaports, airports, Pos Malaysia, KTM, foreign workers’ permits to My E.G. services Shd Bhd, supply of water and electricity, tolls and others have actually increased the prices of essential goods and services. Umno leaders and their cronies have benefitted at the expense of the Rakyat, including the rural and kampong folks. The failure of our public transportation system has increased household transport costs. Why blame the Chinese traders when Umno itself profited at the expense of Malaysians?

Our public debt and household debt are at their highest now. Approximately six million foreign workers are replacing Malaysian workers. Wages have stagnated and Malaysians have to continue working even after retirement to keep up with the rising cost of living. Income inequality is becoming worse by the day. Can the minister of agriculture enlighten the public as to who is responsible for this situation?

Parliament has passed a number of enactments to handle any unreasonable increases in prices. We have the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Acts 2010, Anti-Competition act 2010, The Malaysia’s Consumer Protection Act 1999 (CPA), Price Control Act 1946, the Control of Supplies Act 1961, the Trade Description Act 1972 etc. Why aren’t these invoked? Why blame the Chinese traders? The minister and his officials can definitely do a better job. Umno and Ismail Sabri should stop blaming others for their own poor governance, policies and non-action.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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