KUALA LUMPUR: Communication is among the most important medium in dealing with inflation and rising prices of goods as it involves consumers who need clear messages about the situation, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa (pix).

Annuar, who is also chairman of the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation, said that if consumers did not get clear information regarding the matter, it could cause problems, including misunderstanding and panic-buying.

“It is like an ecosystem that involves many segments. The government needs to find ways to deal with rising prices of goods, producers need to increase efficiency to ensure costs remain low while consumers need to play a role in not carrying out panic-buying.

“All segments have their respective roles and if the message does not reach, all systems will go haywire,” he said on TV1’s Bicara Naratif on the topic of ‘Tangani Inflasi Perkukuh Ekonomi’ (Tackling Inflation, Strengthening Economy) yesterday.

Annuar said the special team, which involved various ministries and agencies, was established to act on a day-to-day basis and was different from the National Action Council on Cost of Living (NACCOL), which was more focused on policy making.

“For example, when chicken prices go up, we need to act quickly... NACCOL will discuss how to make policies, food security methods and so on, that is for the medium and long term but this committee must act swiftly, especially to protect the people from being badly affected as a result of uncontrolled prices.

“This committee will monitor the whole chicken supply chain so that prices can be stabilised and, Alhamdulillah, the price of chicken is stable. In fact, some are sold below the set ceiling price,” he said.

The government had created the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation to help Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) face the challenges of the rising cost of living.

This team’s role is to gather all information from ministries, agencies and the public to formulate strategies as well as coordinate actions to resolve inflation-related issues, especially in controlling the increase in prices of goods more efficiently and effectively.

Meanwhile, Annuar said the government would take a firm stand in ensuring the welfare and interests of the people were always protected, especially for those with low incomes.

“Don’t simply make up stories of the government withdrawing subsidies, (or) the government wants to make life difficult for the people. Are our transportation costs higher than in other countries? Are the prices of our rice and sugar higher than in other nations?

“In managing the country, we must understand that we need to tackle what is happening and we will take action after action,” he said. — Bernama