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Govt to continue efforts to keep prices in check, says Anwar

The prime minister says the government is not taking the issue lightly.

2 minute read
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim greets people at the Megah Rahmah Sale @ Tambun at Pasaraya Mydin Manjoi in Ipoh, Aug 24. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim greets people at the Megah Rahmah Sale @ Tambun at Pasaraya Mydin Manjoi in Ipoh, Aug 24. Photo: Bernama

The government will continue to find ways to ensure that the price of goods is at a level that does not burden the people, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim says.

He said this included increasing food production as well as the introduction of additional measures.

Anwar said the government did not take the issue lightly despite receiving criticism over the matter from the public, whom he said might not fully understand the problems behind the rising price of goods.

"The best example of that (government measures) is the work of the late Salahuddin Ayub," he said, referring to the domestic trade and cost of living minister.

"He was always thinking about how to negotiate with companies, shops and producers, how to reduce the price (of goods).

"But the whole world is facing this problem and we are still trying to resolve it as best we can. Now, acting domestic trade and cost of living minister Armizan Mohd Ali is also helping so that this effort can continue. We will continue to take additional measures," he said in Ipoh yesterday.

Anwar said efforts to keep rising prices in check so as not to burden the people were not easy, but that as a responsible government, it would continue to look for solutions. 

He cited how India had raised taxes by 40% for the export of garlic and red onions last week.

"This means that there are days where we can control (the situation) and there are days when it is difficult to do so because India increased taxes by 40% to export onions. If we are going to farm our own, it will take some time before there are results.

"But when it comes to chicken and eggs, at least under our administration, we have those. The government has to pay subsidies to cover the price of chicken, if we don't, prices will be high," he said.

Anwar said the public sometimes might not understand the issues behind the rising prices, adding that if the price of certain items was not too high, it meant the government had been providing subsidies. 

Anwar said this would also mean that the government would need some planning for the future, such as to ensure higher domestic production. 

"I have told all the major government-linked companies like Sime Darby, Guthrie, Felda that they have to think about this because we import too much food. The land in Malaysia is fertile but we import a lot of food items.

"So for that reason, we have directed that these companies also bring bigger revenue output. That's why Khazanah, for example, cooperates with companies such as Farm Fresh for milk and so on for domestic production. 

"That way we can lower the cost a little because we produce domestically. If they are imported, prices will be higher," he said.