KUALA LUMPUR: A government backbencher has urged Putrajaya to eliminate monopolies and cartels and open the market to allow more companies to import goods.
William Leong (PH-Selayang) said the country’s entire market structure needed to be “corrected” to eliminate monopolies and cartels in industries such as padi cultivation, construction goods, telecommunications, sugar and flour production, and palm oil.
“High food prices and the high cost of living arise from problems in the market structure.
“Monopolies and cartels take advantage of consumers by raising prices to the point of absurdity.
“Abuse committed by dominant market players and monopolies must be addressed to ensure sustainable economic growth,” he said when debating the supply bill in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Leong said several large companies dominated the supply of essential goods such as flour, rice and cooking oil, leaving restaurants and retailers exposed to price hikes and unstable supply.
He said consumers also lost out due to a lack of choice, high prices and poor quality of goods, adding that at present, the monopolies and cartels were “feeding on the poor masses”.
“I suggest the government open up the market and allow more companies to import goods.”
Leong then urged Putrajaya to play the role of caretaker rather than trading player in the economy, adding that the government should encourage market competition.
“Malaysia needs to have an open and competitive market with the price of goods determined by the market and not set by the government or anyone else,” he said.
“Economic freedom means full competition to keep prices functioning organically.”