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PM Anwar says govt will consider subsidies for chicken, rice in Sabah, Sarawak

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 7 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that the government is committed to helping people deal with the high cost of living particularly in Sabah, including looking at ways to make chicken and rice more affordable.

Anwar said his government is not just about unity and good governance but also compassion.

He said his government is looking into ways to make basic necessities available to all.

“The chief minister has told me the prices of chicken and rice are high here, and some are finding it difficult to make ends meet,” he said during a speech at the opening of the national hawkers and petty traders carnival day at Buhavan Square in Donggongon, Penampang today.

“So I decided that we should handle this properly. If there is a need to inject funds, a need to float prices to match prices now, we will pay a subsidy to ensure it. We will pay subsidies to lower prices in Sabah,” he said.

Anwar said the federal government must step in before prices started to get out of control.

“But it’s already high now so I will ask the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof to set up a special committee on how to deal with soaring prices in Sabah and Sarawak. With the federal government’s help, this will be expedited,” he said.

The government had stopped subsidies on chicken for over a month, which the agriculture and food security ministry’s data says has resulted in savings of RM100 million.

However, in Sabah where the minimum wage is lower, but the cost of living can be higher by up to 30 per cent, many households are struggling with increasing costs of basic goods.

Anwar said his government will ensure people’s wellbeing is well taken care of.

“If a company turns over a billion ringgit in profit, but pays its workers RM1,800 to RM2,000 that is not Madani. Yes, we need economic progress but what differentiates us from other policies?

“Everyone wants to have great economic progress and new industries. But we must pay a reasonable wage,” he said.

He said there was no point in huge leaps of development if there were people still left behind unable to get access to basic needs like water, electricity, education, and healthcare.

“By December we will solve the problems of hardcore poor.

“This year we have to solve the problems of dilapidated schools, over 8,300 toilets in schools. We have to solve the basic needs first. Then next year we will look at increasing civil servant’s pay. This hasn’t been reviewed in 10 years. For those who have worked for 12 years, the priority is for their salary to be reviewed,” he said.

As for private companies, Anwar said there will be a progressive pay scheme to compel companies with over hundreds of millions in profit to increase the salaries of their staff.