Thursday, October 27, 2016

Those pink price tags

I have always been puzzled by and angry with price controls in Malaysia especially around festivities.

CONTROLLED ITEMS: Tan Lian Ho (seated centre) and Wan Ahmad Uzir (seated left) displaying the controlled items together with the pink price tags which must be displayed under the new Price Control and Anti Profiteering Act 2011.

Borneo Post Online in May 2011

Eggs, sugar, cooking oil, meat, whatever - there seems to be ALWAYS some form of control over the prices, with Gestapo-like inspectors breathing down the shoulders of shopkeepers, roti canai sellers or kopitiam owners, etc, just to keep prices of iced coffee, cakes, bread, kaya spread and god-knows-what-else to some acceptable low figures according to the departments' magic formulae.

Such price controls have always been more associated with halal stuff because I have never heard of price control on items such as char koay teow, bah-kut-teh or siew yok. Correct me if I am wrong.

But worse would be the associated sermonizing bullshits coming from ministers, department heads and who-else, with the opposition making hay out of the price-rise sunshine (for them).

BTW, as an associated issue, why is Guan Eng complaining about shortage of cooking oil due to the removal of government oil subsidy in his Deepavali message when Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hamzah Zainuddin has just said the subsidy for 1 kg bottle of cooking oil is being maintained, with its price remaining at RM2.50?

Incidentally, prices for palm oil (used as cooking oil) last year was between RM2,300 and RM2,600 per metric tonne, but last month the price shot up to almost RM3,000 per metric tonne.

Can the government continue subsidizing cooking oil, when the price increase will cost the government an additional RM400 million over the budget allocated for cooking oil subsidies this year? What are the prices of cooking oil (palm oil) in ASEAN nations like Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Philippines?

I hope to se
e that one day there will be no more control over price rise and the related hullabaloo. If the costs of items rise prior to festivals, let them do so because items will get more and more expensive each passing day, and especially on approaching festivals. Australia experiences the same effect.

Believe me, it'll be a miracle if they (other than share prices) ever drop.

If you don't like the new price, believing that they have gone up too much, don't buy the items. Alternatively, buy certain less or non perishable items well ahead of the expected price rise.

Some years back, when tropical storms and floods hit the Northern part of Australia badly, in states like Queensland and Northern Territory, the price of bananas went through the roof, nay, not only through the roof but all the way to the planet Neptune and beyond.

One day it was $2 per kilo, after the devastating effect of the storms and floods bit in, the price went up to (at its peak) $35.00 per kilo (or more in some places), and to really add insult to injury, those expensive-like-hell pisang looked like shit. Just an extreme case of supply and demand. I abstained from bananas for several months.

hile that price zoom from $2 to $35 was extraordinary, prices of items have always move up and down in accordance with seasons also. In winter, prices of oranges are okay, but in summer they cost the world; vice versa for mangoes.

Aussies either buy them and pay through the noses, or like cheap skate kaytee, forego the expensive fruits. Just an example.

As I have just written above, I have never heard of price control on items such as char koay teow, bah-kut-teh or siew yok. The Cinapeks just either absorbed the price rises or eat halal, wakakaka.


  1. In a properly functioning economic system with free supply, movement and consumption of goods, price controls are unnecessary. Just as GST is theoretically good for the country.
    In classical economics, if the price of goods go far beyond what the market will accept, compensatory mechanisms will kick in, without requiring government interventions such as price controls.
    Demand may fall, alternative suppliers kick in, suppliers willing to supply at a lower cost to gain market share may come in, substitute products which work as well or equivalent will grow.
    High Prices will drive technological advances which spur either alternative substitutes or lower cost production.

    The global crude oil market is one such classic example, where some 10 years of oil speculation pushing oil prices to stratospheric prices, eventually led to a price collapse in 2015. Those investors who made a bet that Crude Oil prices will forever remain high and even higher got burned.
    Even Oil obeys the basic principles of economics.

    But things don't work like that inside Bolehland.
    Many goods have their supply and distribution mandated under monopolies or semi monopolies.
    Suppliers freely band together to set 1 fixed nationwide price for many products.

    On the GST front, a key factor has been the inability of a great many small business to claim their input tax from Kastam, which happily places many obstacles.
    Kastam is artificially boosting their Key Performance Index "Net Collections" by evading refunding Businesses Input tax.

    One of the key component economic theories in GST being a so-called "fair and efficient" taxation system is that Input GST Tax refund for businesses should be an entitlement, not some "Special Privilege" which government bureaucrats can deny at the their whim and fancy.

    To sum up in a nutshell, Malaysia's economic system sucks , tailored to benefit the rich and the powerful.

    1. Sucks? Wakakaka.. What's the IMF/World Bank Report on Malaysia? What about Moody's, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch's rating on Malaysia? Who sucks?

    2. Monsterball, we don't know fully about oil yet. Fracking has made it cheap, not just cheaper, but bloody cheap in recent times, but down to a low of around (I think ie. if I can remember the breakeven price, of) about US$65 per barrel. Prices lower than US$65 per barrel makes fracking uneconomical

      But in addition to the low US$65, fracking has a terrible toll on the environment, poisoning water tables irreparably. This was discovered only recently.

      Today we hear about Canada and other places backing away from the fracking, and under the TPPA, facing court cases from oil companies which already have contracts signed way by some countries before the adverse side of fracking was discovered.

      So I am not too sure about oil dropping any further IF the process of fracking is terminated

    3. This is a big reason why Saudi Arabia, with their conventional oil production can wait out the frackers. It is acting on its business sense and experience to sink the shale oil.

    4. there is something not right about the capitalistic economic system. even karl marx said 'the capitalist on an average takes twelve hours work from the worker and pays him wages equal to six hours work'. perhaps it is time to change to the islamic economic system?

    5. islamic economic system?

      Do u realised that almost all the members of the club of doom r from Islamic countries?

      Tau apa tu club of doom?

      A membership of 3rd rated 3rd world countries on the economic way down, that's it!

      Remember 3rd rated 3rd world - the lowest of the low membership.

      Said MUCH about their islamic economic system, betul tak?

      Together with syariah court system & islamic economic system, any wonder EHY these religious zombies keep wishing for good life (non stop flowing river of wine & 72 virgins) ONLY in al jannah?

      Present life too tough. Tak bolih tahan leehhhh.

    6. i believe islamic econ sys might have it merit in the context of fairness among society, however i dun know much about their approach toward labour n productivity,that could be the main causal of wealth n poverty.

      pas hadi seem know zero abt this, his talk all tis while stress only religion n moral, even this he fail miserably of the latter because he n his loyalist close both eyes on mo1 as if nothing happen. the only thing left is therefore tok religion n hudud, day n night. tis people live in a vacuum wakaka.

  2. Crude oil has finally reached its industrial usage plenum NOW.

    From now on, its price would be trading around US$50+ per barrel for a foreseeable timeframe of 10 yrs. After that, it would be downhill all the way.

    It's a known fact that transportation has the most unquenchable thirst for petroleum.

    The rising popularity of the hybric cars, using gasoline & fuel cell, & electric cars r the damping factors.

    Most of the car manufacturers in the world have production versions of both. & their production volumes r ramping up fast.

    For decades, the United States, the world’s largest car market also tops the largest gasoline consumer (around 40% of global gasoline demand).

    & yet USA is also at the forefront of the electric car development while more & more hybric cars r also on the road.

    The range problem of the electric car will be solved when more powerful fuel cells r been invented. While the hybric is taking the pioneering role of reducing the dependency of the hydrocarbon.

    Eventually crude oil will only be used in industrial usage where there is limited replacement. But the volume of usage will never see it's golden peak, especially when green is the call of the day.

    1. The USA has enormous oil reserves which they keep in ready mode nut unused for their military strategic standbys.

      Until miniaturized nuclear engines can be invented (as it has been for ships) the army and air force will still have a need for oil

    2. Miniaturized nuclear power plant IS available now. It has been successfully deployed in space missions, especially those space crafts travelling to Mars, Jupiter & Pluto, for many years.

      The ONLY problem for its usage on Earth is the heat & radioactive screening protection procedure. There isn't any viable commercial solution yet for common usage - even in military application, san nuclear subs.

    3. In the movie Martian, Mark Watney dug up a buried miniaturized unclear power cell & used it to provide heating for the land roller.

      That scene is factually correct, but ignores the radioactive screening part.

      Though it did mentioned about why that cell is buried in the first place - to reduce the harmful effect of the radiation.