Poor and rich alike affected by price hikes

IS there any among us in Malaysia who does not have to care about how prices are going up? It is easy to believe that the wealthy and the powerful are unaffected when goods and services cost more, but that is not true.

When people cannot buy as much with the same amount of money as they used to, they are likely to cut spending that is deemed unnecessary. Businesses will eventually suffer and so will their owners.

And when people are unhappy that their purchasing power is shrinking, they expect the leaders to find ways to reverse the trend, or at least halt it. In other words, rising prices can be a problem for the whole country.

It is heartening, therefore, that the Government is setting up a high-level committee to deal with the increasing cost of living.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he would head the committee, which would meet for the first time in early January.

It will indeed be a panel of heavy hitters because it will include six other ministers as well as secretaries–general of their ministries.

The ministers are Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism), Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (International Trade and Industry), Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid (Education), Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (Higher Education), Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (Second Finance Minister) and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the committee would look into what various non-governmental organisations have to say about the rising cost of living. He added that leaders of the NGOs would be invited to meet with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak so that they could express their concerns and views on the issue.

It is a good start to gather input from the civil society. This will help the Government to piece together a picture of how the rakyat is affected by higher prices and how they are responding. The feedback from the NGOs will surely cover matters such as the Goods and Services Tax, price controls, subsidies, the minimum wage, aid schemes and housing.

The Star Says.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/the-star-says/2015/12/30/poor-and-rich-alike-affected-by-price-hikes/

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