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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

'Costlier CNY celebration this year due to rising prices’ — Association chief

KUCHING - Expensive imported goods and the wet weather will result in the Chinese community having to spend 20 per cent more for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sarawak president Hu Yu Siang, who stated this, said the weak Ringgit and exchange rate have caused the prices of many imported commodities to increase.

Citing mandarin orange, a must-have for the Chinese community when celebrating Chinese New Year, as an example, Hu said the price for the commodity has increased by 30 per cent.

“A box of 40 to 50 mandarin oranges last year was sold for RM35. This year, the price is RM47 on average. That is an increase of 30 per cent,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Hu said prices of other imported commodities were also affected but not as much as 30 per cent.

“On the average, it would be an increase of 20 per cent across the board for all imported commodities. The weak Ringgit is affecting all businesses,” he pointed out.

Due to the more expensive commodities, consumers would react by spending less and cutting down on unnecessary expenditure. Realising the bleak business prospect, businessmen would in turn import less commodities.

“This is generally what is happening now. Consumers have to be more careful and thrifty in their spending and businessmen in turn will cut down their import due to expected slower business,” said Hu.

Meanwhile, Kuching and Samarahan Wholesalers and Distributors Association chairman Lee Tui Siong said not only the prices of must-haves for Chinese New Year such as leek, broccoli and cabbages will be increased as even locally produced vegetables will be affected due to the wet season.

“For example, a kilogramme (kg) of cabbage used to be RM2. For this coming New Year, we will see the price increased to RM4 to RM5 per kg.

“Locally produced vegetables will also be not exempted. We will also see an even higher increase due to the wet weather. For example, some local vegetables which used to be sold at RM2 to RM3 will be sold at RM5 to RM7.”

He said the wet season also caused fish prices to rise by more than 20 per cent, like locally produced vegetables.

“This is again another very expensive Chinese New Year as we will have to pay more for everything including Chinese New Year cookies,” said Lee. - BP

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