Govt agencies given two weeks to come up with ways to address rising cost of living, says Anwar


PUTRAJAYA: A two-week time frame was given for government agencies to look into strategies for addressing rising living costs, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic).

The Prime Minister said that it would include the proposal of targeted subsidies for the lower income individuals and improving incentives for the private sector.

“The objective of a subsidy is to reduce the burden of the rakyat — especially the lower income ones. But, following our meeting, the subsidies must be targeted (for lower-income households).

“If not, even the rich ones would enjoy the subsidies. Therefore, I give two weeks for the government to study the implications of targeted subsidies while also discussing the matter with the private sector.

“We will improve other services and incentives for companies to ensure that they’re also not burdened,” he said after chairing the National Action Council on Cost of Living Special Meeting here on Sunday (Nov 27).

Anwar also commented on the electricity tariff where the same benefits were enjoyed by lower and higher-income households.

He said that while the subsidy will continue, it would not make sense for the richest to enjoy the same.

“The electric tariff that was presented previously benefits both the poor and the rich.

“However, I think that doesn’t make sense. It’s called a subsidy but the benefit goes to someone else. The tariff will continue but might not for the people with higher incomes,” he added.

Also present at the press conference were Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry secretary-general Datuk Azman Mohd Yusof.

Anwar said the two-week ultimatum was allocated to the relevant agencies to draft the plan before presenting it to the Cabinet for approval.

“The rising living cost issue has been pressing a big portion of the lower income individuals.

“Therefore, I give two weeks notice and when the Cabinet is finalised, we can study the proposals by the relevant ministries,” he said.

He added the new Cabinet will be announced in the next few days after several discussions with the component parties in the three different coalitions.

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