KUCHING, Jan 1 — Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen today urged the state government to take steps to stabilise pork prices which have gone up considerably since last year.
He said the Federal Agriculture and Food Security Ministry does not have any control over the prices of pork in the state that has autonomy over the matter.
He noted that Agriculture and Food Security deputy minister Chan Foong Hin had announced two days ago that the pork prices would not be increased before the Chinese New Year after a series of meetings with pig farmers, butchers and all stakeholders.
“Unfortunately, the federal ministry has no jurisdiction over Sarawak that enjoys autonomy in this aspect, therefore, the decision and policy on stabilising of pork prices could not be applied in Sarawak,” Chong said in a statement.
He said there is a possibility pork prices would be increased by another RM3 per kg in Sarawak next week.
“Much as the federal ministry wishes to help, it is prohibited to do so by the Sarawak autonomy in this matter.
“What makes it even more exasperating for the common Sarawakians is that, while the state government claims its autonomy in the matter, it is not doing anything to help stabilising pork prices,” he said.
Chong, who is also the State Assemblyman for Padungan, said he had raised the issue of increasing pork prices in the last sitting of the State Assembly, but the state Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Datuk Sri Dr Stephen Rundie did not provide a solution.
He also criticised Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) ministers for failing to address the high pork prices.
“If Chan could help to stabilise pork prices in Peninsular Malaysia before the Chinese New Year, there is no reason why can’t the state government, with its strong representation in State Assembly and more than RM10 billion yearly revenue, cannot do anything to help,” he said.
He called on the state government to be more proactive in exercising its autonomy to help the common Sarawak people.
It is understood that pork products are sold at between RM25 and RM40 per kg at the Kuching markets.