The STAR online
Wednesday March 11, 2009 FEDERATION of Malaysian Consumers
Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Muhammad Shaani Abdullah has expressed disappointment over the mini budget. “It is basically maintaining the status quo, not solving problems and I doubt that it will create any confidence among consumers,” he said.
Muhammad Shaani was referring to the RM674mil in subsidies allocated by the Government to avert price increase of necessities such as sugar, bread and wheat flour. “The Government should have increased the spending power of the people instead of just giving breathing space because at the end of the day, the people will still find it hard to make ends meet,” he said.
“And what about other things? There is no provision to reduce the price of these and in general, the standard of living has not improved,” Muhammad Shaani said.
He pointed out that in the current economic situation, helping the lower- to middle- class consumers was crucial to stimulate the economy. Muhammad Shaani said he was also disappointed that the budget did not address public transport. “There should have been subsidies for diesel so that public transport fares can be reduced and thiswill put money into pockets of the lower income group,” he said.
Fomca president Datuk N.Marimuthu concurred that the public transportation should be improved. “The Government has covered it well by ensuring that prices of necessities do not go up,” he said. Marimuthu said as long as there was implementation, something was better than nothing and the people should be grateful for what the Government was doing.