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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                       22  August 2011

Low wage earners get help

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Relief is on the way for those earning less than RM3,000 ( US$ 1005) per month with new measures to help ease the rising cost of living in the coming budget.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the Prime Minister was expected to announce the Government's initiative in the Budget which would be tabled on Oct. 7 in Parliament.

“It is the Government's duty to do what it can to help Malaysians affected by rising costs.

“We need to ensure that information on all those earning less than RM3,000 per month is compiled as a database so that the initiative will reach the targeted group,” he said.

He declined to give further details on the initiative, adding that it was for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Finance Minister, to announce it.

He said the government had identified three options for the initiative, which were currently being studied by Pemandu and expected to be completed by next week.

Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) would then propose the best option to be implemented by the Government, Ahmad Husni added.

“Pemandu will perform simulations on the options to ensure that these can be implemented efficiently and effectively after they are announced in the Budget.

“We don't want implementation to become a problem after the announcement, and the result is not as expected,” he told reporters after handing out National Welfare Foundation aid to 688 people here yesterday.

Ahmad Husni, who is also Tambun MP, said the Pemandu study focused among others on the aspect of allocation and funding.

In his 1Malaysia blog, Najib had recently said besides ensuring the country's continued economic development, the Budget would emphasise managing rising living costs and easing the people's burden.

Addressing the cost of living had recently been announced as the Government's seventh National Key Results Area (NKRA) while Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said Malaysia might introduce food stamps to cushion the rise in prices.

A consumer expert said although the initiative under the Budget was not known, it would be useful to provide the low and lower-middle income groups with aid on transport to school, allowances for school books and uniforms, and food stamps as a way of alleviating the rising cost of living.

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