Panel on cost of living to meet sooner

Panel on cost of living to meet sooner
Malaysia's Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - The first meeting of the high-level committee to tackle the rising cost of living has been brought forward to Friday.

The meeting was initially planned for Jan 18 but was rescheduled earlier as the Government wanted to act fast on remedies.

It is learnt tthat the meeting this week will list down areas of concern and brainstorm on the necessary steps to cushion the impact of a sluggish global economy on Malaysians.

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (pic) confirmed that his ministry would provide input at the meeting from the various parties concerned.

"Rest assured that the Government is aware of the people's concerns over the high cost of living,'' he said after addressing the ministry's first monthly gathering of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the setting up of the committee to be chaired by him last week.

Besides Hamzah, it also comprises the International Trade and Industry and Education ministers.

In his address, Hamzah urged his officials not to be disheartened by the budget slash for the ministry.

"A lower allocation means we just have to optimise our budget and ensure prudent spending,'' he added.

Hamzah said the ministry, particularly its enforcement personnel, was often criticised when the public fell prey to irresponsible traders.

"Never mind, let's not allow criticism to affect us. What is important is that we have done our part and will continue to act against irresponsible traders," he said.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said the 2,300 enforcement personnel made 1.8 million checks on business and trading premises last year, with goods worth RM1.4mil (S$458,000) seized and compounds totalling RM900,000 issued.

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