BY : ADRIAN NANDU.
LABUAN: A committee member of Labuan Corporation Advisory Council, Peter Mak, said yesterday that since the introduction of the 50 percent discount on ferry fares since early January, the impact on the prices of goods here has been minimal.
He found out some of the prices of goods here had remained the same while others were found to have increased especially at some of the eateries here.
Peter said this could be because businesses increased the prices of goods and services, claiming that they need to offset increased labour costs following the implementation of the minimum wage of RM800.
“It is an unfounded claim as their cost of transportation had gone down by virtue of the government’s subsidy.
“Therefore, they are obliged to reduce the prices of their products. The shopkeepers are not passing the benefits of the subsidy to the people which they should do starting now,” he said.
Peter said the relevant authorities should look into this issue seriously and take appropriate measures to ensure that the government’s initiative and effort will benefit the people.
“With the benefits reaching the people, it would be good in terms of the development of Labuan in the long run.
“More people from outside the island will come here and it would be significant for this island’s sustainability,” he said.
On the claims by certain quarters that the 50 percent subsidy should be stopped as it only benefited the lorry operators transporting the goods to Labuan, Peter replied the matter must be reviewed carefully.
Peter said there must be a mechanism to ensure that the benefits reach the people because once the subsidy is stopped, the shopkeepers would use it as an excuse to further increase the prices of their goods.
“The subsidy is useful and what we need now is strict monitoring and a mechanism to ensure that the subsidy is implemented properly,” he said, adding that the shopkeepers must also do their part.
Peter said that non-governmental organisations and the chambers of commerce here could also play their role to urge the business community here not to take advantage of the government’s initiative. (BP)