Malaysia, like many other countries, is facing skyrocketing prices of essential goods. And like many other countries, has fallen prey to the temptation of price controls.
The local media is no help. Brian Martin, writing for The Star - Malaysia, calls for “the urgent need for price control.”
“The need for government intervention to address this issue is imperative. At the time of writing, the National Action Council on the Cost of Living was set to hold a meeting yesterday on the situation and decide on medium- and long-term plans to address it.”
He even calls to punish those who don’t comply. Who needs enemies when your media is actively calling for ruining your livelihood:
“This is where frequent enforcement is crucial, not only to check unjustified price increases but also to punish and deter profiteers and errant traders.”
Sure enough, roughly 2,200 enforcement officers and 1,000 price monitoring officers have been deployed throughout the country for this purpose. The Keluarga Malaysia Maximum Price Control Scheme (SHMKM), took effect last month on Dec 7th and was originally set to last through the end of 2021. Since it hasn’t yielded the desired results, the government has extended it through February 4th, 2022. If something doesn’t work, you keep doing it, right?
This scheme sets maximum prices for 12 daily essentials. According to its director, Mohd Ridzuan Ab Ghapar, stern action will be taken against any traders who raise their prices unreasonably with the intention to make additional profits. The ministry will continue the ongoing effort of assessing the scheme to either add or drop items from the “essentials” list as they see necessary. Consumers can also file complaints with the ministry to rat out their fellow man if suspected of skirting the SHMKM rules. This is example #1,283 of a typical government turning the people against each other.
Enforcement director, Azman Adamadded, admits that shortages occurred, but claims these were "due to logistics issue." Yeah, right.
Governments deflect the blame of higher prices on “greedy” people instead of directing it where it belongs — on the government’s intervention in the market and debasement of the currency. In so doing, they pit the people against each other.