Look who’s talking, DAP ticks off Putrajaya over claims of control by pro-opposition businessmen
Its national publicity chief Tony Pua said Barisan Nasional has been cultivating crony businessmen to dominate, monopolise and control the supply and distribution of many basic goods and services over the past 30 years.
He said the price of rice had been rising because Bernas Bhd had been given the right to monopolise its import.
"Bernas Bhd is a private company owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and it holds the rights to import rice on behalf of traders in Malaysia.
"Therefore, the company makes fat and easy profits while at the same time causing the price of rice to increase. The same applies to many other essential goods, including sugar," Pua said in a statement.
His comments come after Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had blamed pro-opposition middlemen for the rise in the prices of goods and services.
Pua said Tenaga Nasional Berhad has been forced by Barisan Nasional to purchase the majority of its electricity from independent power producers (IPPs).
"Why has the electricity tariffs increased?" Pua asked, adding that TNB paid the IPPs significantly higher prices for the electricity that it could actually produce on its own at lower prices.
He also noted that the prices of medicine in Malaysian hospitals were 148% more expensive compared to Australia.
"This is because Putrajaya forced our hospitals to purchase medicines from their designated middlemen, Pharmaniaga Bhd," Pua said.
He highlighted the infamous RM482 million Shah Alam Hospital project, which was awarded to Sunshine Fleet Sdn Bhd.
"The project was subcontracted wholly to another contractor by Sunshine Fleet for RM451 million in 2007."
Pua said despite the millions of ringgit already paid out by Putrajaya, until today, the project has stalled with no signs of being completed.
"These are all excellent examples of how pro-Barisan Nasional cronies and middlemen have caused the prices of goods and services to rise in Malaysia," Pua pointed out.
He said Putrajaya's spendthrift ways and extravagant tastes have also caused the country's fiscal deficit to rise.
"It is a knock-on effect, when Malaysia's fiscal deficit rises, the country's credit rating is affected, forcing Putrajaya to embark on massive subsidy reduction which results in today's painful inflation."
Pua said Tengku Adnan's attempt to blame pro-opposition middlemen for the hike in prices of goods and services proved that he was nothing more than a "kangkung minister".
"This is one of the most ridiculous excuses and accusations made by a Barisan Nasional minister. It shows they have run out of plausible excuses to defend the rising prices in Malaysia," he said.
Pua issued a challenge to Tengku Adnan to name the so-called pro-opposition middlemen who were increasing prices of goods and services.
"If Pakatan Rakyat truly controlled the economy through these middlemen, Barisan Nasional would have lost Putrajaya in the 13th general election," he said.
"Why does Tengku Adnan wait until 2014 to come out and make these ridiculous remarks? Stirring discontent should be before a general election, not after!"
Pua told Tengku Adnan to stop looking for "kangkung excuses" to defend Barisan Nasional and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Yesterday, Tengku Adnan had blamed pro-opposition middlemen for deliberately increasing prices of goods and services, and inciting the public's hatred against Barisan Nasional.
His comments came following a series of memes and YouTube clips mocking Najib over remarks that he had made last week when speaking about the cost of living.
Najib had complained that Putrajaya is blamed whenever the prices of goods rise, but not praised when they fall, pointing out that the cost of kangkung (water spinach) has dropped.
The prime minister’s remarks on kangkung resulted in parodies by netizens and attracted global interest, with British news service BBC publishing a report titled “#BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach”. – January 19, 2014.