PUTRAJAYA, April 6 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said dependence on middlemen should be reduced in an effort to control the prices of goods in the country.

Met at the Agro Rahmah sales programme at the Precinct 3 Ramadan bazaar here today, he said the prices of goods could also be controlled if middlemen took only reasonable profits.

Citing the Agro Rahmah sales as an example, he said vegetables and wet goods sold at the programme were cheaper because middlemen were not involved.

“We can see that the vegetables are cheaper without going through middlemen who take excessive profits … prices are far lower than at ordinary markets.

“It is the same with prices of other goods like fruits, fish and prawns. If we can reduce the role of middlemen or middlemen take only reasonable profits, prices can be controlled,” said Anwar, who is also Finance Minister.

Asked about government initiatives to check the problem of middlemen, he said the establishment of pasar tani and the Agro Rahmah programme were among the approaches taken to control the prices of goods.

“If we take the produce straight from farm to market, prices will be much lower. We can control prices of local produce but not imported goods,” he said.

Anwar also announced that the rent for Ramadan bazaar stalls in Precinct 3 had been reduced from RM1,000 to RM850.

“This will allow them (traders) to make more profits,” he said.

Also present were Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.


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