Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today that an investigation is necessary to determine whether a local industrial monopoly has resulted in higher cement prices in Sarawak.
Although the government managed to curb rising cement prices in Peninsular Malaysia last week, the price of the commodity in Sarawak is significantly higher, he said in a statement.
“Cement is a basic building material. Any substantial increase in cement prices will be redistributed into the economy.
“This will then affect the buying power of consumers,” he said.
Lim noted that Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had successfully demonstrated the government's commitment to control the cost of living by restraining cement prices.
This was carried out after discussions last week with companies in the industry.
Lim added that the measure addressed the public concern over the possibility of an increase in cement prices by as much as 40 percent in Peninsular Malaysia, as reported in the media last week.
“It also eased public concern that the major local producers of cement have abused their market power to raise prices unfairly,” he said.
Lim also said that for the time being, the inflation rate for consumers in Malaysia remains low and stable.
The Consumer Price Index for April 2019 rose only 0.2 percent, at the same rate as in the previous month, he said.