To the best of my amnesiac recollection, Malaysia hasn't had a decent Minister for Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs since the late Tan Sri Megat Junid in 1997.
In recent years we have been inflicted with Ministers who said they were binggung about controlling prices of consumer goods and dealing with "unexpected" negative reactions from wholesalers, retailers and consumers.
The current Minister has done worse than his predecessors. He wanted Malaysians to flash their identity cards to Bangladeshi workers at petrol stations to get subsidised petrol at one point. Thank goodness the Malaysian public reacted with loud disgust.
Now he wants to issue more licensing papers to kedai runcit operators. These poor fellows are already fighting a losing battle against Cash & Carry operators and super-duper hypermarts.
Some of the actions of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs are examples of a government without common sense or intelligence or both.
Just to be clear, the issue is NOT about regulating the kedai runcit operators.
The issue is subsidies and, how to remove them without hurting the lower-income groups.
And, just to be clear, many kedai runcit operators can be classified as lower-income Malaysians.
Think more clearly. Use more common sense.
Regulations must improve the situation, NOT worsen it.