KOTA KINABALU, Sept 24 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says the government is currently conducting a detailed study in finding ways to reduce the cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak where the prices of most goods, especially food, were sold at higher prices than in the peninsula.
The Prime Minister said the matter had been raised at a recent Cabinet meeting and he had instructed Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi to prepare a report.
“I said, Alex, you better study why the cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak is always higher than in the peninsula.
“We have assistance schemes, subsidies for transportation that are still running so that we can reduce prices, but we are still receiving complaints, because I put my ears on the ground, I know how the Sabahans feel.”
He said this at the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) Ceramah Perdana programme in Petagas here tonight, ahead of the state polls this Saturday.
Muhyiddin said the study, among other things, would look at whether the prices of these goods were higher because of the Cabotage policy, or due to unscrupulous traders and transportation problems.
“Whatever it is, this issue will be studied by the federal government, I will ask for a report on how we can find ways or efforts to ensure that we can lower the cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
The prime minister said among the strategies was to produce as much food or crops as possible using the abundant natural resources available in these two states.
“I think there is still a lot of land here, there are rivers, there is the sea, there are forests and there are wide plains…we can use them to plant anything. If there is an abundance, we can sell it to Hong Kong and China.
“But most importantly, is to supply all kinds of food items to Sabahans at a reasonable price, this is what we will do, not only for Sabah but for the whole country,” he said.
Muhyiddin said as the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on National Food Security Policy, he was committed to ensuring that the country had an adequate food supply.
“When it comes to food security, Singapore is said to be the number one country in the world. Malaysia is ranked 28th, even though the country has a lot of natural resources.
“But we do not have enough for our own consumption. This is serious, and we have to look (into it),” he added.
Source: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia