PUTRAJAYA, 22 Oct 2008: Consumers can expect a reduction in prices of essential products by Friday, says Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad.
The move is in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call to industries to reduce prices of commodities and oil.
Shahrir said his Ministry had held discussions with a number of hypermarkets but so far only company had agreed to reduce the prices of essential products.
“We hope more companies will agree to reduce prices, especially prices of food and household products,” he told reporters after meeting representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGO), industries and media at his ministry here today.
He added that apart from trying to reduce the prices of essential goods, his ministry was also carrying out a study to overcome a shortage in supply of essential products in rural areas.
“We are carrying out a pilot project in Seberang Perai Utara, Penang and Pekan, Pahang to improve the delivery system so that rural areas can receive essential products on time and at a reasonable price. The project has been successful and I will submit it to the cabinet,” he said.
Speaking of a demand by 3,200 petrol station operators who had claimed RM41 million in compensation from the Finance Ministry, Shahrir said in business, loses are a common risk faced by everyone and that no business was free from such risks.
The 3,200 petrol station operators had claimed that the 10 sen reduction in oil prices by the government on 15 Oct, had resulted in losses amounting to RM41 million.
“Since the price of crude oil in the global market had dropped, the government had decided to reduce the price so that the people can enjoy the benefit. If we (government) didn’t do that it won’t be fair,” he said.
He added that the operators had also urged the government to review oil prices once a month and not once in two weeks. However, Shahrir said they must understand that though they review the prices every 14 days, it does not mean that prices would go down.
“They can avoid risks by not stocking up supply before the old stock runs out,” said Shahrir. — Bernama