MILK POWDER PRICES SHOWS WHY S’PORE NEEDS INDEPENDENT CONSUMER WATCHDOG

I refer to the article “CCS findings on pricy milk powder hardly address the issue of why prices” (theonlinecitizen, May 29).

As a case in point – has any government agency or government-linked company (GLC) ever been penalised in a big way by the Consumers’ Association of Singapore (CASE) or the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS), in the history of Singapore?

Why do you think that for example, the equivilent of CASE in the developed countries like the United Kingdom, are independent and devoid of government influence, like having politicians on the board or leadership staff at CASE historically?

Whilst we wait six months for the “milk powder” commission to come up with recommendations which may take another unknown period to implement – does it mean that consumers have to continue to pay high prices?

In the meantime, here are some immediate suggestions:-

Fairprice could introduce a much lower priced house brand, like what it has done for many goods.

This may force the current high prices to start coming down.

Ban sponsorships and subsidies that milk powder companies are giving to hospitals.

Impose a cap on the advertising and promotions component of milk power.

Allow online purchase and shipping of milk powder from other countries to Singapore.

Currently, there seems to be a restriction on the purchase and shipping to Singapore.

For example, one can buy much cheaper milk powder from Malaysia online, provided one has a Malaysian address (such as a friend’s address in Johor Bahru) for delivery.!

If the recent water price increase by at least 30 per cent happened in another country with a CASE that is independent – at the least – there would have been calls for detailed historical and projected revenues and costs, to justify the increase.

Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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