BUKIT MERTAJAM, Jan 24 — The government is indeed focusing on finding a solution to lower the price of raw materials, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said this included ensuring sufficient production as well as supporting domestic producers of egg, chicken and vegetable products.
Anwar was commenting on a statement by former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who called on the government to find a solution to lower the price of raw materials.
“It’s okay, let’s listen to his (Ismail Sabri) point of view. If I compare the month and a half of the minister in charge now (to the previous one), I can admit that what is being done now is more earnest,” he told reporters after attending the Majlis Kenduri Rakyat in his hometown at Cherok Tok Kun here last night.
Earlier, during his speech at the ceremony, Anwar said that in the short time since he was appointed as Prime Minister, the presence of international investors from Europe, China and the United States in Malaysia was much more encouraging than in previous years.
“Alhamdulillah, with this confidence, the ringgit has strengthened. If our currency falls, this will lead to high import costs and an increase in the price of goods. When the price of goods increases, including the price of food, this will burden the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said Budget 2023 – to be retabled on Feb 24 – would touch upon the digitalisation and modern agriculture sectors in an effort to ensure the country’s economy remains sustainable.
Anwar said he would also consider higher allocations for Penang, Sabah and Sarawak which were deemed to have received less attention before.
Although Penang was the largest tax contributor to the country, he said the state was often marginalised in terms of Federal budget allocations.
“I’m considering the matter, even if there are constraints in terms of income and expenditure, but we will pay attention because it is true that Penang is marginalised in terms of allocation… but the same goes for Sabah and Sarawak.
“There is indeed a big shortfall because the allocation for Penang is for large infrastructure but in Sabah and Sarawak, it includes small infrastructure, clinics, hospitals, people’s housing and dilapidated schools,” he said.
Previously, the media reported Anwar as saying that Budget 2023 to be tabled next month would not be tied to the bill previously tabled in October 2022, but that the recommendations made in the previous budget plan would be taken into account in coming up with the new figures.