Housing developers and contractors in Sarawak have urged the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to maintain the old prices of cement for the benefit of the people, especially house buyers.
In a joint statement, the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (SHEDA) and Kuching-Samarahan Contractors Association (KSCA) expressed their concern over the hike in cement price announced recently.
They said it would eventually increase the price of houses and put house buyers at a disadvantage.
Developers and contractors do not see why cement price in Sarawak should be increased as the price of cement in the state is already 15 percent more expensive than in peninsular Malaysia, despite the availability locally of raw material, such as clinker, for the manufacturing of cement, the statement said.
Maintain the old price of cement for the benefit of the rakyat, especially when Sarawak is still behind in terms of infrastructure and amenities and the price increase could adversely affect government efforts to bring development and attract investors to the state, it said.
It suggested that the government set up a Price Commission to study the increase in the price of cement and its impact to the industry and most importantly to the house buyers, contractors and government projects.
It also said that the price increase in cement should not be with immediate effect.
The authorities should allow a grace period or a forward warning of six months for the industry to adjust, it added.
Last month, the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs announced the increase in cement price, which was backdated to Dec 1 last year and the controlled item under the Price Control Act 1946 will see a 10 percent increase in selling price.