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PM: High living cost is being addressed
Published on: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Barisan Nasional Government will address all issues affecting the rakyat, including the high cost of living.

"Every programme carried out by the Barisan Nasional Government either at Federal or State level is based on 'the people first' concept, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said this when announcing the Program Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat (PJSR) to held in every parliamentary constituency nationwide fortnightly, during the launching ceremony of the State-level PJSR and Bizfair at the Dataran Bandaraya, Wednesday.

Najib also announced the special price reduction of five essential items – rice, poultry, beef, eggs and Milo – offered for one day only in conjunction with the official launching ceremony.

"That is why if you attend government programmes, you will be able to benefit, unlike the opposition programmes where it isn't known if you will benefit from anything," he said.

He said the government cares about the needs and wants of the people, saying, "We must feel the pulse of the people."

"If the people are complaining about the cost of living, then as a government we must find a solution, look for intervention programmes that can be done to have a positive impact," he said.

He hoped that the programme launched on Wednesday would somehow influence the market price and ensure prices of goods stay within a reasonable range.

"This is what the government desires, to have goods with reasonable prices, we cannot let the market go open without any action, knowing that there are people who do business today with the intention of profiteering.

"Profiteering and placing the blame on the shoulders of the government, claiming that prices of goods are up because of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)."

Najib pointed out that such claims were not true because GST was implemented two years ago and should have no effect at all today.

"This is especially so since we adopt the lowest GST rate in the world with only six per cent compared to other countries," he said, adding that a total of 164 countries are implementing the GST and Malaysia exempts 578 basic items from it.

"We should therefore not blame the government because if we have positive results, we return to the people," he said.

"We have allocated RM6.8 billion for BR1M this year, and (from that amount) RM561 million is for Sabah," said Najib, adding that the distribution of BR1M helped to boost the country's economy.

"This is our government, we not only give, we also make sure our economy grows, if the economy grows, like 5.9 per cent last year, including the high growth rate for Sabah, we will be able to help the people.

Thus we want to see how we can continue to help Malaysians and the people of Sabah," he said.

Najib also announced the RM3,000 allocation for future entrepreneurs under the BizFair programme.

To them he said, "Write down what you need and the Companies Commission of Malaysia will buy and hand them over to you."

He also announced an additional RM5 million to the programme's budget, bringing the total allocation to RM10 million.

Najib also presented the SSM corporate tithe amounting to RM200,000 and SSM CSR donation of RM200,000 to Musa.

The corporate tithe will be distributed to 1,000 hardcore poor people, and several surau and mosques in Sabah while the CSR donation would be distributed to 2,000 eligible people in the state.

Towards this end, he thanked the State Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman for the strong support and also congratulated the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and his team for conducting the programme.

Meanwhile, Musa said this is an implementation designed to help every single community in the state, including those from rural areas.

"Najib has come down to our state to evaluate the issues we are facing and he is now addressing this high cost of living issue for the people living in the city and those in rural areas.

"But this does not end there as the government has also allocated at least RM70 million to cover the cost of transporting goods to rural area to ensure that prices are kept balanced," he said.

Hamzah on the other hand stated that his Ministry would be on the lookout for cunning traders who impose discounts after raising the prices discreetly.

"If we catch any one of these traders abusing their powers, we will force them to lower down their prices to what it is supposed to be," he said. - Sherell Jeffrey and Locksley Ng

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