PUTRAJAYA: Deputy domestic trade and cost of living minister Fuziah Salleh says the initiatives implemented by her ministry over the course of the year have been well received by the people.
Speaking at the 2023 Cost of Living Symposium, Fuziah said the ministry will remain committed to advocating for consumers and ensuring the protection of consumers and industries through robust enforcement.
She added that the initiatives are geared towards addressing the escalating cost of living for Malaysians, primarily driven by global factors.
“Global crises, such as climate change and conflicts like the Ukraine-Russia war, contribute to the rise in commodity prices.
“Similarly, in the case of importing essential items like onions, it adversely impacts us as well if the producing countries impose higher taxes,” Fuziah said.
In August, Bernama reported that India, the world’s leading exporter of onions, implemented a 40% export duty on onions to curb retail inflation triggered by escalating food prices. This extra duty will remain in effect until Dec 31.
“Our primary objective is to ensure that the people are not unduly burdened by the challenges posed due to the higher cost of living.
“To address this, we are advancing and strengthening the Payung Rahmah initiative, encompassing programmes such as Jualan Rahmah, Menu Rahmah, and Bakul Rahmah,” Fuziah said.
In the 2024 budget tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last month, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is also finance minister, highlighted a RM200 million allocation for the Payung Rahmah initiative.
Fuziah said this allocation underscores the unity government’s commitment to addressing the people’s concerns and its ongoing efforts to alleviate the burden due to the increase in the cost of living.
She also paid tribute to the late Salahuddin Ayub, who served as the domestic trade and cost of living minister, recognising his pivotal role in introducing the Rahmah concept to ease the people’s burdens.
“When we initially introduced Menu Rahmah, we thought it was something that would only last for two to three months. However, now there are 2,894 outlets still offering Menu Rahmah, demonstrating its enduring impact.
“He (Salahuddin) consistently stressed the significance of putting the people first. We are upholding his legacy and will continue to introduce additional initiatives to further ease the burdens of the people,” Fuziah said of the former minister who passed away last July.
She added that the more recently announced initiatives, such as the discount card for traders promoting and rewarding their involvement in Menu Rahmah, along with Kedai Cari Rakyat under Jualan Rahmah, are just the beginning of a series of initiatives.