KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 ― Only those who don’t believe in God will raise the prices of goods and services, Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
His unexpected reply came after opposition lawmaker Dr Tan Seng Giaw asked if the recent rise in the prices of goods was in the “hands of God”.
“YB Kepong asked if raising prices of goods is in the hands of God. God has never told anyone to raise prices or reduce it.
“It's those who don't believe in God [who] are the ones who always raise prices. Those who believe in God will follow ethical ways and not simply raise prices,” Hamzah said.
The Larut MP then suggested that the rival lawmaker’s query indicated the latter’s lack of faith.
“His question might be because he is unsure whether to believe in God or the otherwise,” Hamzah added.
When met outside the Dewan Rakyat later, Hamzah said Tan's question was “not very funny”.
He reiterated his stand, however, and went on to quote from the Quran, saying that Islam discourages unethical business practices.
“This is extremely necessary so that there is a balance between the domestic economy and consumerism.
“Don't let consumers feel cheated. If traders hike up their costs to the point that consumers no longer frequent them, it is they who will suffer,” said Hamzah.
Putrajaya has repeatedly denied responsibility for rising prices, particularly since last year’s introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and regularly blames unethical traders for the phenomenon.