Finance Ministry closely examining rising cost of living

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PUTRAJAYA: The Finance Ministry will closely examine two key components – the price of essential goods and services as well as income – to address the rising cost of living.

Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said the rising cost of living was a concern among Malaysians today.

“By and large, Malaysians spend 31.2% of their disposable income on food and food away from home, 23.9% on petrol, housing and utilities, and 14.6% on transportation.

“With the change in lifestyle, the basket of necessary goods today include cars, handphones, computers and Internet access,” he said in his remarks before chairing the 2017 Budget Focus Group Meeting: “Cost of Living” here, today.

In preparing for the 2017 Budget, Johari said the ministry had organised its first focus meeting on the cost of living by engaging with various stakeholders including the private sector, non-governmental organisations and government agencies.

Over the years, he said the government had undertaken several measures to enhance the wellbeing of the people.

“The measures include the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) cash assistance, schooling assistance, book vouchers, housing assistance and subsidies on essential items,” he said.

Low-income families have also continued to receive support through various welfare programmes while those in the middle-income group have benefitted from a reduced income tax regime and higher tax reliefs, he added.

The 2017 Budget is scheduled to be tabled on Oct 21, 2016.