KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is reviewing the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has been criticised as not reflecting reality.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the review was to make the CPI “more helpful and relevant,” especially for those in the urban areas.
“There is strong argument that the CPI needs to be reviewed for not reflecting the real situation on the ground. But we have to study it very carefully because we don’t want to make any mistakes,” he said, adding that it was too premature to reveal the outcome of the review. “But it will be better, more reflective of the real situation,” he told reporters after opening the National Summit on Urban Poor and Low Income Groups organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute and Suhakam (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) on Monday.
Abdullah earlier said in his speech that the various facets of the CPI would be looked into, including reassessing its composition, breaking down inflation into its components such as food and non-food inflation, as well as publishing inflation rates for different geographies and for urban and rural areas.
He also revealed that the Government would introduce a new social safety net to help those most affected by the recent rise in prices.
The social safety net will be unveiled during his Budget speech next month. He said it would include direct assistance for the poor, handicapped and other underprivileged groups. The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry was also involved in developing it.
On the inflation rate projected to increase to 6% for this year, the Prime Minister admitted he was worried about the situation, particularly with the two major crises facing the world simultaneously today - the unprecedented oil price hike and food shortage.
“The price of oil is to an unprecedented level that is four times more than before. That is why the situation is bad at the moment and no one can guarantee that the price of oil is not going to go up for as long as the futures market and the future traders remain very active,” he said.
Abdullah said many countermeasures were being undertaken but if the crises worsened the country would face more obstacles.
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