Putrajaya’s plan to lower cost of living: More price controls, discount sales

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya February 15, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya February 15, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 15 — The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) is considering adding a few more crucial items to the list of controlled goods in order to lower the cost of living.

Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail did not reveal which items will be eventually end up on the controlled list but said there are plans to increase the frequency of sales of consumer goods and fresh produce with discounted prices, and expand them nationwide.

“There are several groups helping the ministry in identifying items that should be included in the controlled list as they are popular items, often used by the people,” said Saifuddin after the National Cost of Living Action Council (NACCOL) at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya today.

“These are items that we feel are used on a daily basis and are popular with the people.

“We’re only in the discussion stage but so far, discussions with experts from Bank Negara Malaysia, the Transport Ministry (MoT), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance have been going well and we will hopefully come up with a list in the near future.

“As for the implementation of the ‘Price Control Scheme’, I’d like to say it’s been effective so far as we’ve received very few complaints about rogue traders hiking prices during the recent Chinese New Year festivities,” added the PKR secretary-general.

Besides that, the ministry has also decided to extend the Food Bank Malaysia programme to higher learning institutions, implementing a “Star Rating System” for all express buses and reducing fares for users of the KTM Komuter by 20 per cent.

“The MoT is studying and analysing this proposal to reduce KTM Komuter ticket fares which we feel will benefit the B40 the most,” added Saifuddin, referring to the bottom 40 per cent households.

“The discount will be for inner city and outstation rides but before we decide to implement this, we need the MoT to send a memo to the Cabinet and it will be discussed there.

“As for the food bank, we felt the students could use with a little bit of help as well and we did not want to sideline them,” he added.

To a question on how long these ideas will take effect, Saifuddin said: “For the price control items, we can’t put them in the list yet as we have to determine if we can meet the demand.

“However, we at NACCOL welcome all the case studies, facts and figures and analytics that will help us make better decisions.”

NACCOL’s next meeting is in March.

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