MCA welcomes the Cabinet’s decision to set up the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation and the key role it would play in gathering information from ministries, agencies and the public, and to formulate strategies and coordinate actions to resolve issues relating to inflation, especially in controlling price hikes more efficiently and effectively.
It also welcomes the government’s openness to answer all questions on issues raised by the people after every meeting.
MCA urges the task force to look into the domino effect of price hikes, because the price control of basic food items does not equate to stopping the price increase in processed food or food items sold in retail outlets or F&B outlets.
Furthermore, the task force needs to address the issues faced within the supply chain by engaging the farmers, livestock breeders, producers and logistics operators, and assisting them in the challenges faced at local levels (including enforcement and compliance), so that increased cost cannot be passed on to consumers unfairly.
At the same time, the task force should also hear out the views and grievances of consumers and inputs from consumer groups.
MCA also would like the government to identify and address the fundamental causes of price increases, as the issue of price hikes are not entirely caused by government policies, but due to the market mechanics on the ground and opportunistic middlemen or suppliers – where the price increase has little or nothing to do with cost increase.
Hence, we hope the government would not merely make decisions based on reports from agencies and business groups, but instead take this opportunity to dive deep into fixing the market’s weaknesses and loopholes.
For this purpose, a website detailing government policies and price caps could be created for public viewing, which will also deter unscrupulous traders from taking advantages.
Finally, MCA calls on the task force to review the impact of price hikes on the B40 + M40 groups; bearing in mind that Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia alone would not be sufficient to support poor families living in urban areas.
MCA is willing and prepared to work with the government and the task force to bring forward ideas, inputs and feedback from Malaysians.
Saw Yee Fung