COMMENT | If there are three items that are very important for the poor to get adequate nutrition, chicken, eggs and cooking oil have to be at the top of that list, along with rice and vegetables.
Cheap supplies of such food will help ensure the health of a large proportion of the rakyat. But the puzzling, perplexing removal of years-old price controls on chicken, eggs and cooking oil threatens to further impoverish a huge swathe of the population.
The removal of chicken price controls, according to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, could raise prices to as much as RM12 per kg from the current RM8.90, an increase of some 35 percent. However, if there is no ceiling price, it could rise even more than that.
Incredibly, the prices of petrol and diesel remain controlled and heavily subsidised while the subsidies for chicken, eggs and cooking oil are not reduced but removed completely and price ceilings abolished!
Fuel subsidies are estimated by the finance minister to reach a massive RM30 billion this year and current subsidies on the three essential food items are a fraction of this...