Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

Weekly fuel prices to take effect every Thursday.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Motorists will have to keep an eye on the changes of petrol and diesel prices every Wednesday, following an announcement of the weekly petrol and diesel pricing mechanism by the Domestic Trade, Co-operation and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin made the announcement on RTM’s TV1 5pm news on Wednesday, and said that the new mechanism would allow consumers to enjoy a more stable retail price for fuel compared to the monthly pricing currently in use.

The new mechanism will come into effect on March 29.

Weekly fuel prices will be announced every Wednesday and the new price will be enforced the next day.

“The first announcement will be on Wednesday, March 29, which is next week and the new petrol and diesel prices will be enforced on March 30,” he said.

Hamzah also said fuel station operators will be allowed to give discounts on fuel, provided that prior permission is obtained from the ministry.

“Station operators are reminded to adhere to the new prices and serious action will be taken against those who do not,” he said.

Hamzah said the ministry had had several consultations with oil companies, station operators, non-governmental organisations and other relevant parties before coming up with the change in the pricing mechanism.

This was later presented to the Cabinet and the weekly price mechanism was approved on Feb 22.

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Sarawakians set to enjoy lowest electricity tariff in Malaysia

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Abang Johari (seated, second left) addressing a packed press conference at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has assured Sarawakians that the state government will provide the ‘cheapest electricity tariff in the country’ after the acquisition of the mega Bakun hydroelectric plant (HEP), which has a generating capacity of 2,400MW.

“Yes, yes, in the long run, people will benefit. We will be the cheapest because there will be no cost except for operating cost. Once you recover your capital expenditure, then your cost is only in maintenance and operations. So we want that to be transferred to the people. So you don’t have to charge high tariff,” Abang Johari told a packed press conference at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.

He said Sarawak was fortunate to have abundant natural resources which it planned to maximise so as to get the optimum results, especially in getting the state to the next level of development, which would be based on digital economy.

On a related issue, Abang Johari who is also the Minister of Resource Planning and Environment, said since Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) had been entrusted to take over Bakun HEP, all its assets and environment issues related with it would be taken care of by the corporation.

“Who else will be in the best position to look after Bakun and its environment if not SEB?” he asked.

He was asked to comment on who would be looking into the huge amount of debris which were now floating upstream of Bakun HEP Dam area as a result of logging activities and shifting cultivation over the years.

Recently, The Borneo Post reported that the chief minister would address the issue of the log jam.

Abang Johari pointed out that the acquisition of Bakun HEP from the federal fovernment was one of the two things that he intended to achieve within 100 days of holding office as chief minister.

He took over as the sixth chief minister on Jan 13 this year, after the demise of Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Jan 11.

“The negotiation process (to acquire Bakun HEP) was initiated by the late Tok Nan (Adenan) and his team. But when I took over as captain I wanted to score ‘lah’….(to finally seal the deal). But I did the key negotiation and the Prime Minister had to bring it to the Cabinet. It was not an easy negotiation, you know,” he said in a lighter note.

When interjected whether the next big thing that he wanted to announce was the state cabinet reshuffle, he responded: “No, it has nothing to do with that, but something to do with strategic project”.

When asked whether the state would build more than four HEP dams, Abang Johari said four would be enough for now.

“But if we need to have more in the future, we would apply modern technology where there would be no effect on the local communities and thus, no need for resettlement.”

Meanwhile, Abang Johari who is also the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the state could now focus on developing Bakun lake and its islands as tourism resort.

“So if tomorrow we want to develop Bakun as tourism resort, we don’t have to ask the federal government because it’s now under our control.”

by Peter Sibon & Lian Cheng.

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Petroleum association demands fixed fuel price

Monday, March 6th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association demands for a stabilized fuel price despite the proposal made by Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani for a ceiling price on all grades of fuel being sold in petrol stations.

The proposal which was made in order to control escalating fuel price however has caused a major concern for the Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association.

“We foresee a new set of problems confronting us, and one of them is that a price war among different brands will happen,” said the Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association president Charles Soong.

“Some stations with not much sales would soon go out of business as the dealer’s margin may be lost due to the price war,” he added.

Soong stressed that the problem will cause inconvenience for the consumers in the long run as the station becomes limited.

The association also expressed their worries as they fear that a lot more accidents may be happening with the insufficient numbers of workers in the stations.

“Stations with much reduced income will have less people working in the station and consumers will have to look after themselves, where the consumers are still not well trained in self service up until today,” Soong was quoted as saying.

Soong also stated that the government’s Community Drumming Project may also suffer as the transporters will most likely purchase the lowest pump price they can find thus problems like inability to supply may occur and may suffer the people from the remote area.


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Petroleum dealers concerned over ceiling price proposal

Saturday, March 4th, 2017
Caption: Charles (seated third from left) with the representatives of the Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association.

Caption: Charles (seated third from left) with the representatives of the Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association.

KOTA KINABALU: The recent proposal by Second Finance Minister, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani for a ceiling price to be imposed on all grades of fuel is a serious concern to all the petroleum dealers in the country

Sabah Petroleum Dealers Association president, Charles Soong said this when expressing his concerns regarding the said proposal as they could foresee the possible emergence of a whole new set of problems.

The goal of the said proposal is to control the escalating fuel prices by allowing the oil companies to set up their own pump prices.

However, Charles said, this might not be the best solution.

“A price war among different brands will happen. Stations with lesser sales are bound to close down as the dealer margin may be lost due to a price war,” said Charles.

The consumers will suffer in the long run as the number of stations will be limited and consumers will have to spend even more in looking for a suitable station.

Charles disclosed that there are currently around 150 petrol stations in Sabah, and 60% of those stations might have to close down if the said proposal was adopted.

Charles said that the government could prevent this dilemma by doing what they were doing now, that is, by setting up a uniform price nationwide.

He also said that the reduction in income might force the stations to cut down on manpower, which might leave the consumers no choice but to pump the petrol themselves.

“We may see a lot more accidents occurring in the stations as the consumers today are still not well trained in self-service,” added Charles.

He further argued that these dangerous acts might even result in accidents and fire hazards.

Charles also said that the said proposal might affect the government’s current community drumming project, whereby oil is supplied directly to the rural areas.

“Our people in the remote area will suffer. Pensiangan is about 150 kilometres from the nearest town, which is Keningau, and therefore its residents will definitely be buying fuel at a much higher price,” said Charles.

He added that the proposal would cause more demand than supply, and thus resulting in ‘black market’ situations.

Commenting on the price margin issue, Charles said that as of now, the margin was given in sen per liter. Thus, if the fuel price escalates, the margin actually becomes lower.

by Neil Brian Joseph.

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Sabah in need of higher subsidised cooking oil quota – KKCCI

Monday, February 27th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) urge the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism to implement the increase in quota for subsidised cooking oil in Sabah as soon as possible.

“The ministry should also announce how much of the quota will be increased,” said its president, Datuk Michael Lui (pictured) in a press statement yesterday.

While it welcomed the increase in quota, Lui pointed out that the problem of shortage in supply had been evident for the past few months, when almost all the shelves displaying cooking oil were empty.

“KKCCCI is of the opinion that there must be a substantial increase in quota to reduce the issue concerning the shortage of supply for subsidised cooking oil.

“We hope the relevant authority realizes the fact that the prolonged shortage in Sabah is the root cause of panic buying.

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Philippine Airlines to spread wings to Sabah

Saturday, February 25th, 2017
One of the lucky winners receiving the air ticket to Manila from Ryan.

One of the lucky winners receiving the air ticket to Manila from Ryan.

KOTA KINABALU: Philippine Airlines is considering incorporating Kota Kinabalu and also Sandakan as some of its destinations.

Its vice president Ryan T. Uy said the airline is currently studying the available routes in Sabah.

“We used to fly to Kota Kinabalu. We know that Kota Kinabalu has a large Filipino population,” said Ryan.

He said the airline is well aware that the people of Sabah are in need of more flight options.

“There are Sabahans who would want to fly to North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China,” he Ryan.

By having Kota Kinabalu as one of its destinations, it will be easier for Sabahans to travel to these countries, he added.

The Asean countries are also currently being looked into by Philippine Airlines, and it is planning to link more Sabahans to its neighboring Asean countries via its Manila hub, Ryan told the media during the re-launch of the Philippine Airlines’ direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Manila yesterday.

The event at Le Meridien Hotel yesterday highlighted the latest promotions by Philippine Airlines.

The promotions include the Kuala Lumpur-Manila flight with an all-in fare of RM398. The booking period ends on March 19 and the travel period is between June 8 and December 15 this year.

For those who are planning to travel to the United States, Philippine Airlines is currently offering an all-in economy round trip fare from as low as RM2,202.

by Neil Brian Joseph.

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Shop operators furious over increasing assessment rates

Thursday, February 16th, 2017


Lu showing to reporters the clogged sewage system overflowing with faeces producing disgusting smell

KOTA KINABALU: The shop operators at Taman Jumbo, Putatan here are furious at the Putatan District Council for hiking the assessment rates drastically without prior notice.

According to one of them who identified himself as Kok, he was shocked to receive a statement from the district council last week indicating the assessment rates have gone up ridiculously between 69 per cent and 86 per cent.

“The assessment rates for two storey shoplots have been increased by 86 per cent from RM1,064 in 2014 to RM1,984 in 2015,” disclosed Kok during a press conference at a coffee shop in Putatan here yesterday.

And for three storey lots, he said it has gone up by 69 per cent to RM2,248 this year from RM1,330 last year.

“We have experienced an increase last year and now they imposed another hike again and this is really burdensome to us especially when our economy is very tough nowadays,” he fumed.

He claimed that the council has also failed to provide the full detail of the new table for the assessment rates which was unfair to the tax payers as they are often left in the dark.

Another shop operator, Lu said he was incensed that the sewage system was often clogged without any serious effort from the district council to fix it instead they point fingers at the Public Works Department.

“The sewage system behind the shop lots are always overflowing with terrible smell from the faeces,” he pointed out.


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Study proposal before finalizing on bigger airport – association

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: A realistic study involving all stakeholders of Sabah’s tourism industry must be made before finalizing on a new mega Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) project, stressed Sabah Hotels Association (SHA) chairman Christopher Chan.

Chan said a greater KKIA should be made at a timely matter according to the economic climate whilst ensuring proper funding is available before sparking speculations that would impact the city planning and property industry.

He said the country should learn from history and the need for a bigger KKIA should not only be measured from a civil aviation angle but also from a local tourism perspective with a firm footing on facts and all possible implications.

“Is it the right time for us to talk about a new one? Because the total tourist arrival for 2016 is only about 3.3 million,” he said.

“The airport should have been relocated to Tuaran in the past but then that didn’t happen and an upgrade was made to the present one.

“These things are going to create either a good or bad thing, the land cost all of a sudden go sky high in certain areas. Tuaran for example, all of a sudden the land costs went up very high as the airport was expected to be there but it didn’t happen,” reminded Chan, adding that the mega project would affect development plans for building due to zoning restrictions.

Going a bit further, Chan also wondered whether the new airport would impact the Pan Borneo Highway, a project that should take precedence to a new KKIA.

“Let’s be realistic, don’t put in speculation when it might be another 50 years before we have a new airport,” he said.

“Are you sure the people in Sabah need it and are they looking forward to it? Is it justified? Is there money? Do we really need it? Does Kota Kinabalu need a new airport? What is their expectation? What is the growth rate? Is there a real study on this and are you sure you know what you are talking? It must be based on a proper study,” Chan asserted.

He said all options should be considered before making a final conclusion and a decision should be made based on priority.

The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has suggested the building of a new, bigger airport as KKIA will reach its full runway capacity of 13 million passengers annually in the next five years.

Its executive chairman, General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdullah bin Ahmad, said a study was in process now to look into a new site for a bigger airport and it would have more than two runways to cater for the big influx of foreign tourists into Sabah.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) president Datuk Michael Lui said the State Government ought to consider Mavcom’s suggestion as the KKIA may not be able to cope with the influx of tourists to the state capital in the next two to three years.

He said KKIA was currently the second busiest airport in Malaysia.

“I believe that more international flights will come to Sabah in the future as our State is now a popular destination for tourists from many countries, especially China.”

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Rubber buoyant prices boost earnings

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Buoyant prices for rubber in the international commodity market have boosted the monthly earnings of smallholders in Sabah from RM2,500 to RM7,000.

The international price of Standard Malaysian Rubber 20 (SMR 20) increased from a low of RM4.70 cents per kilogram early last year to RM9.68 per kilogramme today, due to a short supply in the world market because of floods in Southern Thailand.

As a result, rubber prices by smallholders in Sabah went up from RM1.50 per kilogram, for cup lumps with 50 per cent dry rubber content, to RM3.75 per kilogramme as of today.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin welcomed this latest development and was pleased for rubber smallholders in Sabah.

Yahya who is also Minister of Agriculture & Food Industry reminded smallholders that the government had a social safety net policy in place for them known as the Rubber Production Incentive (IPG).

The IPG is paid when the farmgate price falls below RM2.20 per kilogramme for cup lumps or when the international SMR20 price is below RM5.50 per kilogramme.

In the event that the price of cup lumps is RM1.50 per kilogramme, the government tops up the difference of 70 sen per kilogramme.

The Federal government has paid RM22,001,182 to rubber smallholders in Sabah under this programme from September 2015 to October 2016 through the Sabah Rubber Industry Board.

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Higher food prices push December inflation up 1.8%

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Higher food prices pushed December's inflation rate up 1.8% from a year ago

Higher food prices pushed December’s inflation rate up 1.8% from a year ago

KUALA LUMPUR: Higher food prices pushed December’s inflation rate up 1.8% from a year ago but the increase was slightly lower than a Bloomberg survey of a 1.9% rise.

The Statistics Department said on Wednesday the overall index for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 1.8% to 116.9 in December 2016 from 114.8 a year ago.

It said the higher CPI was due to the increase in the indices for food and non-alcoholic beverages (+3.7%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+2.1%).

However, the increase was absorbed by declines in the indices of communication by 2.6%, transport (-0.6%) and clothing and footwear (-0.5%).

“Core inflation rose 2.1% in December 2016 compared to the same month of the previous year,” it said.

The department said  based on a seasonally adjusted term, the overall CPI for December 2016 remained unchanged at 116.9 as compared to November 2016.

On a monthly basis, the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased 0.6% in December 2016 following an increase of 1.0% in November 2016. The index for non-food fell 0.3% in December 2016 compared with November.