SERDANG, Aug 11 — Ministries and government agencies which are renting out their premises to hawkers and petty traders have been instructed to reduce the rents by 10 to 20 per cent starting next month.

Chairman of the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the matter was proposed in the task force’s last meeting and was agreed upon by the Cabinet in its meeting yesterday.

Annuar, who is also minister of communications and multimedia said it also followed the Higher Education Ministry’s initiative in giving a six-month rent exemption to food stall operators and service providers on all public university campuses, which enabled them to offer meals for as low as RM3.50.

“It was proven doable.

“So, we will expand the policy to have government agencies like the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), as well as ministries, which are renting out their premises to petty traders to reduce the rents by at least 10 to 20 per cent,” he told a press conference after chairing the task force’s meeting today.

Annuar said the efforts to reduce rents and to organise sale or price reduction programmes for certain items including chicken, eggs and cooking oil, were hoped to boost public confidence in helping the government to curb inflation and price hikes in the country, in line with this year’s National Day theme, “Keluarga Malaysia, Standing Strong Together”.

“As a big Malaysian Family, we have to try to reduce prices so that the country will not get stuck in the cycle of price hikes to the extent of raising the price based on sentiments rather than the costs involved,” he said.

For example, he said when the prices of chicken and cooking oil were reduced and the electricity tariffs were not increased, the production costs for certain items, including cooked food, could actually be retained or even reduced, with cooperation from the traders. — Bernama