Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Tobacco – A threat to development

The World No Tobacco Day which will be celebrated on 31 May has Tobacco – A threat to development and it is timely because tobacco use has posed as a scourge on the development of a country. Malaysia is not an exception because tobacco use has imposed a massive social and economic cost over the decades when the money spent could have been used for its development.

To understand the myths and fallacies that we have been fed by the tobacco industry, we have to look back into history to understand the present and the future.

On the contrary to what was believed, tobacco cultivation required heavy subsidy from the industry. Increased cultivation costs made local tobacco leaf expensive, e.g. in 1982, the price of domestically produced tobacco was RM68.25 per kg as compared with RM18.25 per kg Cost, Insurance, Freight (C.I.F.) value of imported tobacco.

Need for transparency over ‘Medical City’ proposal

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is very concerned that more and more public lands are being transferred to private hands without transparency and public knowledge.

In the latest case in Penang, we have come to learn that the State government’s 6.4-acre land owned by Chief Minister Incorporated at Peel Avenue was sold for RM156 million on a 99-year lease for the construction of a RM2billion “medical city” project by a private hospital.

Skinned Alive For The Exotic Fashion Industry

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is strongly opposed to the exploitation of wildlife for the exotic skins trade mainly for the luxury fashion industry.  The trade in exotic animal and reptile skins in particular generates thousands of animal victims to fulfil the demands of luxury fashion houses.

The  recent decision by  the Natural and Environment Ministry  to expand the python skin trade into the European market once the ban imposed by the European Union (EU) is lifted, shows that monetary gains overrides all other concerns.  It is a depressing facet of human nature that short term monetary gain is  substitute for common sense and long term planning.

AVOID CHANGING TPP-RELATED LAWS THAT DAMAGE THE HEALTH OF MALAYSIANS

The Consumers’ Association of Penang calls on the Malaysian government not to make changes to the law relating to intellectual property rights (IPRs) to comply with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Malaysia should also not join any other TPPA countries to revive the TPPA especially since the United States has confirmed it is pulling out of the agreement, as there are very damaging effects and very few benefits.

RENTAL HOUSING IS THE WAY TO GO

Feeling the pinch because of the rising cost of living? Let’s not forget about housing woes. Currently, the so-called ‘affordable housing’ is priced from RM100,000 to RM400,000; certainly beyond the reach of the working class particularly for the younger generation. On top of that, most of the available housing are of the higher price range leaving a limited number of lower priced ones up for grabs by the greater majority.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) believes that there are various successful public housing schemes that Malaysia can either adopt or adapt to suit local requirements. While the CAP understands that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is contemplating to adopt the idea of rental housing in Germany, there are several issues that need to be considered.