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Milk powder, water: Need for independence?

I refer to the article “CCS findings on pricey milk powder hardly address the issue of why prices are high” (theonlinecitizen, May 29).

Penalise the small flies?

As a case in point – has any government agency or government-linked company (GLC) ever been penalised in a big way by the Consumers’ Association of Singapore (CASE) or the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS), in the history of Singapore?

Need to be independent?

Why do you think that for example, the equivalent of CASE in the developed countries like the United Kingdom, are independent and devoid of government   influence, like having politicians on the board or leadership staff at CASE historically?

Wait long long?

Whilst we wait six months for the “milk powder” commission to come up with recommendations which may take another unknown period to implement – does it mean that consumers have to continue to pay high prices?

Immediate action?

In the meantime, here are some immediate suggestions:-

  • Fairprice could introduce a much lower priced house brand, like what it has done for many goods.
  • This may force the current high prices to start coming down.
  • Ban sponsorships and subsidies that milk powder companies are giving to hospitals.
  • Impose a cap on the advertising and promotions component of milk power.
  • Allow online purchase and shipping of milk powder from other countries to Singapore.
  • Currently, there seems to be a restriction on the purchase and shipping to Singapore.

For example, one can buy much cheaper milk powder from Malaysia online, provided one has a Malaysian address (such as a friend’s address in Johor Bahru) for delivery.!

Water price increase – need independence?

If the recent water price increase by at least 30 per cent happened in another country with a CASE that is independent – at the least – there would have been calls for detailed historical and projected revenues and costs, to justify the increase.