Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz has recently claimed that the country’s inflation rate remained comparatively low to other countries and that the economy is headed in the right direction.
“We have increased the subsidies for petrol, some of the foods, goods, and essentials, hence, it has helped the inflation remain quite low for Malaysia. Inflation in Malaysia last month was 2.2%… So that’s still good.”
“What we need to focus on now is to be more targeted in subsidies. I don’t think we can have a subsidy that’s meant for all, but (should instead more focused) for the vulnerable groups, which I think they still need us,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
However, his remarks were not going well among Malaysians as they criticised him for downplaying the soaring inflation rate in the country.
“He is just as clueless as to his boss. Our inflation is not demand pushed, but spiked up due to myriad factors – supply-side problems, weakening ringgit, etc.” a netizen shared.
“Something is not right when he claimed he is right and everything is right on track but food prices, supply and value of Ringgit remains not right? another netizen commented.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is currently plagued with several issues, particularly the rising cost of living. With the value of the Ringgit spiraling down against the greenback at RM4.40, experts have projected that Malaysia import bill will soar soon.
Malaysia spends almost RM50 billion annually on food import alone and this amount will skyrocket with the ringgit’s depreciation.
Apart from that, the continuous price hike in food items is already affecting the masses as several states are reporting shortage of chicken supply due to supply disruption, allegedly triggered by cartels.
The situation had even forced traders to take their own initiative to ration purchases and to increase prices to RM12/kg, which is way above the ceiling price set by the government previously.
Meanwhile, the B40 group that has limited income is the most vulnerable ones amid the rounds of price hike. Many has been calling for the government to intervene but it appears that the current policies are only shortsighted and is ineffective in solving the core issue.
Netizens also berated Tengku Zafrul for being oblivious to the people’s plight and urged him to visit wet markets to see the situation himself.
“Wondering, whenever these people reported our economy all good, all positive, but when we talk to people at the market, small businesses, all cried all worried with skyrocketing prices of goods, even basic necessities aren’t enough to be supplied how to say our economy is good then?” a netizen said.
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