KOTA KINABALU July 19, 2012: The cabotage policy is not the sole factor contributing to the high price of goods in Sabah and Sarawak, according to Transport Minister Datuk Kong Chor Har.
He was replying to points raised by Senator Datuk Paul Kong Sing Chu at the Dewan Negara recently, citing logistics and freight costs, land transportation cost and infrastructure facilities, as factors leading to the higher prices of goods in the two Borneo states.
Kong, who is also Sabah MCA deputy liaison head, had asked the minister when cabotage would be nullified so that the ’1Nation, 1Price’ goal could be achieved.
“I urge the government to quickly find a way to resolve the vast price differences between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak with the aim to achieve one-nation-one-price ‘dream,” Kong said.
The minister responded that the government had formed a Cabinet Committee on Logistics and Cost of Living in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan to study and to look into issues that contributed to the high prices of goods in the two states and on the Federal Territory island.
“The Cabotage Policy is among issues that would be looked into by the Cabinet Committee,” he said, adding that committee conducted its first meeting on June 14, this year.
According to Kong, the government would make its decision once the Cabinet Committee presented its findings and proposals.
The government, Kong assured, is not brushing aside nor being passive about the matter.
He pointed out that the government through the Ministry of Domestic, Cooperative and Consumerism has implemented various initiatives to reduce the burden of the consumers on prices of certain essential goods in Sabah and Sarawak.
The initiatives included the Distribution of Essential Goods Project and Price Uniform of Liquefied Petroleum Gas and Diesel (community drumming) which had cost the government about RM70 million.
He assured that the initiative is continuous so as to help the people in Sabah and Sarawak.
Prior to the implementation of the initiatives, he said, people in rural areas and in the interior such Pulau Banggi, have to pay RON95 fuel at RM4.70 per litre compared to the price of RM1.90/litre.
“The high price of RON95 in the rural areas and in the interior was caused by the distance (between Banggi and the mainland),” he said, adding that Pulau Banggi could only be accessed by boats.
After the community drumming was implemented, the price of RON95 in the island has been streamlined to RM1.90/litre.
He said the price of corn flour in Banggi has also been streamlined with the price in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching at RM1.45 per kilogramme.
Previously, the essential good was sold at RM3 per kg in Banggi.