Enough about croninomic projects, it is food that counts

Managing cost of living, and food price in particular, is critical for social order, much more than manufactured inter-racial differences.

By Lee Wee Tak

Cost of living in high income countries are high, understandably. However, before Malaysia achieve the high income status Najib administration aspires and advertises, we are nearer to high cost of living than high income. Lately the food prices are getting more and more unbearable, especially to those low income groups and those depending on social welfare assistance.

Part of the reason is the unprecedented high crude oil price. Other reason includes abnormal weather trend and raising demand for food, especially from China

High food prices has resulted riots in Algeria and abrupt and continuous increase in retail prices was the catalyst for the 1997 riot and mass murder in Indonesia.

Managing cost of living, and food price in particular, is critical for social order, much more than manufactured inter-racial differences.

However, a more sinister and largely unpublished reason for food price increase is food speculation. This article reveals something that made my stomach turned.



For over a century, farmers in wealthy countries have been able to engage in a process where they protect themselves against risk. Farmer Giles can agree in January to sell his crop to a trader in August at a fixed price. If he has a great summer, he’ll lose some cash, but if there’s a lousy summer or the global price collapses, he’ll do well from the deal. When this process was tightly regulated and only companies with a direct interest in the field could get involved, it worked.

Then, through the 1990s, Goldman Sachs and others lobbied hard and the regulations were abolished. Suddenly, these contracts were turned into “derivatives” that could be bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture. A market in “food speculation” was born.


So it has come to this. The world’s wealthiest speculators set up a casino where the chips were the stomachs of hundreds of millions of innocent people. They gambled on increasing starvation, and won. Their Wasteland moment created a real wasteland. What does it say about our political and economic system that we can so casually inflict so much pain?


The world is a big place and Malaysia is also subject to the turbulence the speculators inflicted on the global population.


But, have our democratically elected leaders did all that is within their power to protect Malaysians from higher food prices?


In 2008, 50 of our members of parliament was taken to Taiwan for agriculture studies and yet the food price Malaysians have to grapple with seems to be a heavier than ever burden.

The answer to Teo Nie Ching’s question on our behalf, in 2009, went unaccounted for:-



13. Puan Teo Nie Ching [Serdang] minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan manfaat yang diperolehi dan direalisasikan oleh rombongan back-bencher BN yang telah mengunjungi Taiwan untuk mempelajari teknologi dan teknik pertanian tahun lalu supaya terdapat pulangan berpatutan daripada perbelanjaan wang rakyat yang mendadak itu.


Utusan Malaysia should stop focusing on what decent clothes she wears because YB Teo is much much more than that.


Securing food source for Malaysians do not require politicalising the livelihood of pig farmers and food source of non-muslims. If some quarters do feel strongly against pig farming and incapable of seeing this as a practical issue as it really is, spare a thought for our Hindu friends who have to put up with beef rendang servings in 5 star hotels, Big Mac dealing shopping malls, drive throughs and corner shops which are certainly more ubiquitous and obvious that some remote pig farms.


Making food prices reasonable does not require excessive level in supply chain. Padiberas Nasional Berhad took over the government’s function in rice supply and subsidies management and all consumers have to pay extra to enable this company to be profitable and dividend paying to another concessionaire holder.

Read more at: http://wangsamajuformalaysia.blogspot.com/2011/01/enough-about-croninomic-projects-it-is.html