Govt needs to renew commitment to bring down food prices – Daim

by BERNAMA/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

ECONOMIC Advisor to the Government Tun Daim Zainuddin (picture) hopes to see a renewed commitment by the government in bringing down food prices next year.

He said the government must first address the root causes of the problem which is the inability of the country’s agriculture sector to fulfil domestic demand.

Such a move would then help assuage the people’s unhappiness on the cost living issue, he added.

Citing access to land and financing as among the root causes, he said:

“My suggestion to the government is to have a special agency just to address this issue, make sure the land is easily available and have a special fund for this,” he said at the 29th Tunku Abdul Rahman Lecture here today.

Daim said the bureaucracy of ministries and agencies must be reduced to improve the delivery efficiency and create a simpler way of doing business.

“At the and of the day there must be efficiency and we need people with integrity to run all these agencies,” he said.

He said with the government commitment and people’s willingness to go into the agriculture sector, the country could reduce the total import of agro-food, which exceeded RM52 billion last year, in three years.

Furthermore, he said by laying emphasis on agriculture, it would create employment and improve income in the sector.

“At the end of the day, what is important is that we have a healthy life, the cost of living goes down, productivity goes up and income goes up. So, everybody (is) happy,” he added.