Govt in midst of finding out reason behind cement price hike — Saifuddin

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 18): The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has begun talks with cement industry players since yesterday to find out their reasons for raising the prices of the main construction material.

Its minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the discussion was vital to ensure speedy settlement of the issue, without adversely affecting the government's commitment to build affordable houses for the public.

“The discussion will continue until the matter is resolved, as we also need to hear these industry players’ side of the story. So we discuss whether the price hike is due to the cost of doing business, for example.

“If they give cost as the reason, we want to know whether it is a fixed cost or variable cost, and so on,” he told reporters while attending a Hari Raya celebration ceremony hosted by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd here today.

In a statement yesterday, KPDNHEP said cement manufacturers had been issued a notice, under Section 21 of the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, to explain why they were raising their product prices.  

Failure to do so within seven days will result in action being taken against them under the same law.

It was reported that cement suppliers had notified customers that cement prices would go up by 40% to 50% on June 15 or July 1.

Meanwhile, regarding the proposed targeted fuel subsidy mechanism, Saifuddin said the government would finalise the formula in the near future.

“KPDNHEP and the Finance Ministry will hold a discussion this month to finalise the drafted formula, including how many people will qualify for the subsidies, and subsequently it will be tabled to the Cabinet,” he added. — Bernama