KUALA LUMPUR: The government is committed to controlling the cost of living in the country when it provides an additional subsidy allocation of RM370 million for July and August this year.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the additional subsidy allocation was following the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry’s announcement yesterday on chicken and egg subsidies, making the projected subsidy expenditure for 2022 to RM77.7 billion.

For a period of five months, from February to June, he said the government had provided an allocation of around RM730 million to subsidise chicken and egg prices.

“With the latest announcement, the government has provided RM1 billion to help the people, namely additional chicken and egg subsidies for two months, namely July and August, as well as additional cash assistance worth RM630 million paid to recipients of Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia from June 27.

“The government is constantly increasing assistance and subsidies to the people to help address the cost of living challenges,“ he said in a statement here today.

Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia has among the lowest chicken prices in the region.

“For example, in Indonesia chicken is sold for RM12.44 per kg, Thailand (RM11.65 - 1.2 kg -1.4 kg); Brunei (RM14.65); Singapore (RM24.25); the Philippines (RM16.59); and Vietnam (RM23.09 - 1.2 kg -1.4 kg),” he said.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said as an open economy, Malaysia was not exempted from the global inflationary pressures and it meant that rising prices of goods were completely inevitable.

Based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s simulations, he said Malaysia’s May inflation rate could have reached 11.4 per cent, but the subsidy policy helped curb inflation to 2.8 per cent.

“The government will continue to provide subsidies and cash assistance to protect the people from the rising cost of living burden,“ he said.

He said the inflationary pressures in 2022 was a global phenomenon with Brent crude oil prices remaining above US$100 a barrel since the end of March, coupled with global supply chain disruptions which affected the supply of fertilisers and livestock feed which led to a sharp increase in food prices. — Bernama