PUTRAJAYA: A special Cabinet committee formed to tackle the high cost of living will look at the root causes of price increases to check unreasonable or arbitrary hikes.
The committee, representing various ministries, understands that not all price increases stem from government fiscal consolidation measures.
Some are due to market structural issues, including supply and sale, with unscrupulous businessmen exploiting the situation, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“We will carry out sectorial studies on the impact of input costs on the rise in the prices of necessities and make projections on reasonable price increases,” he told a press conference at his office yesterday.
“We will continually enforce the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act on businesses found to be raising prices arbitrarily.
“They (unscrupulous businesses) will be issued show-cause letters to demand an explanation on any unreasonable price increase.”
“The Act will be an important platform for us to protect the rights and interests of consumers,” added Muhyiddin who is chairman of the committee. The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry is the secretariat.
Muhyiddin said the committee will work with the Fiscal Policy Committee under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to examine the Government’s tax and subsidy rationalisation policies.
The special committee will streamline all policies and programmes relating to high living costs and price increases.
Muhyiddin said that it would also engage with consumer groups, businesses and NGOs to better understand the supply chain of goods and services and other factors that determine prices.
He also said that a two-week lab study was started yesterday to explore ways to reduce the people’s burden. This will entail a holistic study on the fiscal consolidation measures as well as forms of aid that could be given to cope with the rising cost of living.