QUESTION TIME | Using competition to bring down prices
Getting prices to come down as oil tumbles is getting to everyone. But there is no need to get racial. Competition and regulation are instruments the government can use judiciously if the rhetoric is cut and the needful is done.
Certainly we can be sure that the way to bring down prices is NOT to boycott Chinese traders or Malay ones or Indian ones or Dayak, or Kadazan or whatever others. What we may – with emphasis on the word “may”- have to do is to boycott all traders who charge unreasonable prices.
Despite what Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says there is no excuse to target any particular race as if they are the only ones who are responsible for high prices. Blanket boycotts don’t work, targeted ones might, the operative word being “might”.
As a former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Ismail is surely aware that there are other means available for the government to control profiteering – the term used for those who make excessive profits from the sale of goods and services.
And he must know too that a boycott, especially along racial lines is a definite no in this multi-racial, multi-cultural country of ours where the championing of race is used by unscrupulous politicians to court popularity and support from the more extreme and vocal sections of the populace.
Malaysia is organised politically along racial lines and this has been going on after the second world war, a historical baggage over 70 years old. It is matter of public record that many of those who have advocated extremism in the past have ascended the ladder of politics much more rapidly. Ismail has regrettably chosen the expedient but less honourable path when he mixed up price with race into a single, explosive cocktail.
Read more here: http://www.malaysiakini.com/columns/288375