PETALING JAYA: The rise in the cost of living is partially because of “global factors” which have affected Malaysia due to its reliance on various imported goods, says an academic.
Universiti Keusahawanan Koperasi Malaysia’s Abu Sofian Yaacob said these factors, such as the Ukraine-Russia war, contributed to inflation and affected the cost of living, but were beyond the government’s control.
“Both (Ukraine and Russia) play a significant role in agricultural crop production and this conflict disrupts their output, which leads to supply reduction.
“Less supply and high demand mean higher prices. When demand exceeds supply, prices go up. So, we have to pay more for the same amount of imported goods,” he said.
Sofian said the weakened ringgit, coupled with the hikes in the US interest rates, had also contributed to pricier imports for Malaysia.
Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said inflation could surge to 8% in emerging economies like Malaysia due to the effects of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Malaysia’s inflation stood at 2.8% in May, with the consumer price index (CPI) recorded at 130.2 points compared with 126.6 points in the same month last year.
Meanwhile, deputy domestic trade and cost of living minister Fuziah Salleh said the government has implemented several initiatives to mitigate the situation for Malaysians, including monitoring the prices of goods on a daily basis.
“One of the initiatives we have is the Payung Rahmah initiative, which is playing a crucial role in extending support and assistance to those in need,” she told FMT.
The initiative was introduced by the ministry in January, aimed at lowering the cost of living. Hypermarkets, eateries and hotels have also taken part in this initiative, which does not involve public funding.
Fuziah said the ministry also holds enforcement operations under various laws, including the Price Control Act and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, to safeguard consumers’ interests.
“We also have the EzAdu platform that allows the public to lodge complaints on consumer-related issues, including price increases.
“The Price Catcher app is also another initiative designed to help consumers compare and find the lowest prices of goods at different locations,” she said.