Food prices more important than free speech, says lawyer


Pressure group chief asks why Bar silent on food but champions “foreign ideals” not relevant to Malaysians.

(Free Malaysia Today) – A pressure group of lawyers has urged the Bar Council to take up the cudgels for food prices rather than champion issues such as free speech and the repeal of the Sedition Act.

Faidhur Rahman Abdul Hadi said the right to food and the right to water, which he interpreted to include the right to food and drink at fair prices, was a human right just as much as “the other so-called rights the Bar Council is often heard trying to champion”.

He said a repeal of the Sedition Act, which the Bar has sought, would “benefit no one other than an extremist minority bent on trampling on the basic features of our Federal Constitution”. However, consumer rights were relevant to all Malaysians as everyone was also a consumer.

He said the Bar Council had been “deafeningly silent” about food prices and the Consumers Association of Penang had yet to take a stand, in contrast to the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, which had delivered a memorandum to the Prime Minister.

“The rakyat continues to suffer at the hands of these unscrupulous businessmen who are out to make a quick profit,” he said, quoting news reports about food-store operators not lowering their prices and even threatening to raise them. They were conveniently passing the buck to transport operators and suppliers instead of trying to find a solution that would achieve lower prices.

Faidhur Rahman, co-founder of the pressure group Concerned Lawyers for Justice said the traders’ actions “reeks of injustice” and he challenged the Bar Council to take up its duty under the Legal Profession Act to stand up for justice on these issues instead of “foreign ideals”.