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Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, June 13 — In view of Johor’s economic situation and food security issues, a state Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) leader has said it is time for the mentri besar to address such concerns.

Parit Sulong Pejuang parliamentary coordinator Mahdzir Ibrahim said Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi and the state government have the means to curb this issue, especially in the short term.

“With the power and the resources available to the Johor mentri besar, he can come out with initiatives to provide targeted and short-term subsidies for wheat flour, cooking oil, rice, and other essential goods for the people.

“Such subsidies would be more useful than just giving out one-off rice or food baskets to the people as such one-off assistance usually only for poor families and selected B40 groups. Those who are not on this list will be left out,” he said.

Mahdzir elaborated that compared to short-term subsidies, these initiatives can be distributed through local business cooperatives.

“This is not only beneficial for the traders but the number of recipients from one family will also be larger.

“I hope that the Johor mentri besar will take such practical and immediate approaches to assist the people in our challenging economic environment,” said Mahdzir to Malay Mail today.

The former Pejuang Semerah state seat candidate pointed out that the Malaysian ringgit has recently seen a downward trend against the US dollar and also the Singapore dollar.

“At the same time, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Malaysian Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), which measures the inflation rate in Malaysia, increased to 2.2 per cent in February.

“This surpassed the average inflation rate for the period from 2011 to early 2022, which was 1.9 per cent as of February 2022.

“If we look at these reports, it is clear that it will be a matter of concern for all of us,” said Mahdzir, adding that such apprehension is justified as people look ahead to the next six months.

The social activist also disagreed with Onn Hafiz’s reported comments that the low ringgit will attract more Singaporeans to come to Johor and spend.

“The Johor MB’s statement was misleading, and it even sent the wrong message. If we follow his line of thinking, then only Singaporeans and the business community will benefit, but not Malaysians or Keluarga Malaysia as a whole.

“We need to understand that the ones spending are the Singaporeans, not the locals. The domestic economic activities should benefit Johoreans and not the foreigners,” he said.

Mahdzir elaborated that if such a situation were to continue, it will reduce the purchasing power of locals when domestic businesses increase the price of goods to cater to Singaporean customers.

“This situation should not be allowed because at the state government level, the mentri besar has the ability to curb this problem at least in the short term,” he said.

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