PUTRAJAYA, April 1 (Bernama) — The current price of essential items such as chicken, eggs and cooking oil is still low and stable compared to when it was under the previous government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Yet, he said, there are still quarters who criticise the MADANI government as if it has not done anything to ease the cost of living for the people.

“Don’t forget that in 2021 and 2022 the price of chicken was RM13 (per kg), now it is much lower, at RM9 to RM9.50 per kg.

“The opposition thinks we forgot, when they were in charge (administering the government), the price of five kg of cooking oil was RM45 to RM50, now it is around RM27. For chicken eggs, to an extent, there were no eggs. Now, Alhamdullillah, (supply) is stable,” he said.

Anwar, also the Minister of Finance, said this in his address at the monthly assembly with staff of the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) here today.

 Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali and Director General of the Public Service Department Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz.

Regarding the involvement of members of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department in smuggling activities, Anwar said it was sad, especially since the department is under the Ministry of Finance.

“People who underestimate the issue of corruption forget that in a small department, it can still cause a loss of almost RM2 billion to the country.

“Imagine if this happens with the leakage of diesel, cooking oil, the amount taken by certain people…if we can collect everything, we can save tens of billions of ringgit,” he said.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on March 29 revealed that the total leakage due to the activities of the smuggling syndicate reached RM2 billion over the past three years.

MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki is reported to have said that 34 law enforcement officers,  27 individuals and company owners have been arrested through Ops Samba 2.0 for protecting and facilitating the activities of smuggling syndicates.

Ops Samba 2.0 is an operation led by the MACC with the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to combat the corrupt activities of enforcement agency officers who protect smuggling activities.

The prime minister emphasised enforcement to curb government leakages and called on all parties to think of the best method to ensure aid and subsidies are channelled to the target groups, like being done through the re-targeting of electricity subsidies.

Regarding the Sumbangan Asas Rahmah (SARA) initiative, the prime minister said the allocation has increased fivefold from RM130 million in 2023 to RM700 million this year with the SARA rate being increased by RM1,200 this year compared to RM600 last year.

The SARA recipients have also increased to 700,000  poor and the hardcore poor this year, compared to only 210,000 hardcore poor in 2023, he said.


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