KUALA LUMPUR (July 1): The Special Taskforce on Jihad Against Inflation will have discussions next week to encourage all outlets, grocery stores and shopping malls to hold cheap sales campaigns, Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.
As chairman of the taskforce, he said if all parties launched mass sales campaigns, it would help consumers manage their expenditure better.
“So if the sales campaigns can be held, if traders are not too greedy or concerned about their self-interests as they are capable of conducting these campaigns, it doesn’t have to wait till the end of the year,” he said after checking out the prices of food at the International Islamic University of Malaysia in Gombak.
He said the taskforce was planning for the sales to begin in August or September and would negotiate with many more parties to conduct sales to help consumers offset the rising prices of products.
“So this way, the government can bear a little, consumers can bear a little because the hike is controlled, sellers can bear a little. This is the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia to tackle inflation. If we can do this, overall, we can control inflation,” he said.
He had earlier also checked the price of food at Universiti Malaya here, together with Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi.
Meanwhile, Annuar said overall, the taskforce would continue to urge producers and traders not to raise their prices indiscriminately.
In the instance of chicken prices, he said he understands why prices were rising due to costs but it should not be too high, as it is a controlled item that is borne by the government.
“So, it is hoped that traders can cooperate with consumers to not deliberately hike prices too high, which can cause inflation.
“I don’t deny production costs at all levels, like vegetables, meat and fish have risen but costs that are passed on to consumers are not commensurate with rising costs. If we do not raise prices on purpose, we are helping to reduce the inflation rate, that’s what I mean,” he said.
On allegations that food prices at eateries at universities have risen, Annuar said he found it did occur but not at such a high rate, but he was of the view that traders need to make an effort not to raise prices.
He said he congratulated the Higher Education Ministry for taking the initiative to launch the Foodbank programme that was still ongoing but a large part of foodbanks have been distributing dry goods.
"[As for] this Foodbank, we provide the goods to cafeteria operators for instance, and they can cook it and provide food at low and cheap prices, so that might be a way we can reduce students’ expenditure instead of distributing dry goods.
"Secondly, we will negotiate with the Higher Education Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad) and she will review how far and if we can provide incentives to cafeteria operators,” he said.
Two days ago, media outlets reported that rising inflation throughout the country had impacted students, as university cafeterias and cooperative shops began raising prices of food and sundries, with some of them selling above market prices.