EAC draws up steps to boost food security

PUTRAJAYA: A "movable" ceiling price for certain food items and an improved hiring mechanism for expatriates and foreign workers are among measures the government has drawn up to improve food security and tackle the issue of skilled workers in the electrical and electronics sector.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic) said the Economic Action Council (EAC) agreed that a flexible ceiling rate should be introduced where the maximum price of certain produce would change according to the input price.

“This is in line with the recent announcement of plans to provide targeted aid to groups that need assistance from the government,” he said in a statement after chairing the EAC meeting on Monday (June 13).

The Prime Minister had recently announced that direct financial aid will be given to the below 40 income group (B40) in a bid to ease the impact of rising cost of goods.

The new policy, which will take effect on July 1, will see subsidies no longer given to chicken breeders but instead to those who need assistance, particularly from the B40 group.

Ismail Sabri said it was also decided at the meeting that the agro-food ecosystem should be expanded with a supply chain led by government-linked companies and agencies to ensure quality of food, guaranteed supply and optimum yield.

“For example, supply and price of chicken can be controlled if government agencies are involved in the industry’s ecosystem from supplying chicks to feed, transport and marketing,” he explained.

Private-public collaboration must also be improved and the focus should be on modernisation and encouraging smart agriculture, he added.

The EAC also discussed the ease of doing business in Malaysia and the issue of the electrical and electronics sector workforce.

“To facilitate doing business in Malaysia, Pemudah will continue to modernise business-related regulations. This is aimed at improving the country’s productivity and competitiveness,” said Ismail Sabri.

The Prime Minister said one of the decisions is that interviews of foreign workers will be done in the various states compared to the current practice of conducting them at the Human Resources Ministry’s one-stop centre in Putrajaya.

“To tackle the issue of lack of skilled workers in the electrical and electronics sector, a train-and-place programme for 1,000 engineers and 1,000 technicians will be carried out.

“The hiring of expatriates and foreign workers (for this sector) will also be expedited and improved,” he added.

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