CPI up 3.3% in November due to higher food, fuel prices

Items that did not see a price change are communication services, education fees and toll payments


HIGHER food and petrol prices had pushed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up by 3.3% in November to 124.0 compared to 120.0 a year ago.

Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the main contributor to the rise in CPI was mainly due to the hike in prices for raw food materials.

“Chicken, which is the largest component for meat items and the main choice of protein for Malaysians, rose by 16.7% due to the increase in feed prices especially from imported sources.

“Fish, which is also the main source of protein among B40 households in the country, saw an increase in price. Last month, the average price for mackerel rose to RM15.57 compared to RM14.68 a year prior. Milk, cheese and eggs as well as vegetables saw a rise in prices by 4.2% and 3.4%, respectively.

“Besides that, fuel prices remain high at 27.6% and electricity cost rose 34.6% after rebate on electricity bills ended in September,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Items that did not see a price change were communication services, education fees and toll payments while items that saw a decline in prices were clothes (0.4%) and vitamins (1.7%).

In terms of the CPI in each state, all states showed an increase in the index and nine states recorded a higher CPI level compared to the national rate of 3.3%.

The highest increase was recorded in Terengganu (4.3%) while Sarawak, Sabah, Labuan and Kuala Lumpur recorded the lowest increase in CPI where Sarawak recorded 2.7% while the other three states recorded 2.4%.

“The rise of inflation in Terengganu was contributed mainly by the transportation as well as food and non-alcoholic beverage sectors which rose 17.4% and 3%, respectively.

“Both of these sectors contributed 51% to the expenditure in Terengganu,” he said.

Mohd Uzir added that inflation increased by 0.9% in November compared to the same month last year due to the household appliances and maintenance sector which rose 2.6%.

He said the rise in inflation cannot be avoided, following the rise in global fuel and food prices. He cited the US as an example which recorded an inflation rate of

6.8%, highest since June 1982. “Inflation is expected to increase as a result of global fuel and food prices as well as construction related materials such as metal,” he added.

Meanwhile, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Business School economic analyst Assoc Prof Dr Aimi Zulhazmi Abdul Rashid said the increase in CPI for November was no surprise as it was based on the consumers’ complaints on the rise in food items.

“This certainly has a negative impact on the consumers’ purchasing power, resulting in increased cost of living, this situation is not forgiving to the consumers that are still reeling from the reduced and loss of income from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

He said Malaysia imported a huge amount of food items estimated to cost the country between RM55 billion and RM60 billion annually.

Therefore, the weakening of the ringgit against the US dollar is an issue that has a profound impact especially on the stability of food items.

“The strategy to control the country’s inflation rate must be implemented on a long-term basis, especially for food items.

“Various strategies like food banks and stabilising the currency must be executed properly and effectively to tackle this issue,” he said, adding that the current subsidy provided by the government is a short-term solution that will continue to be costly to the country’s expenditures as the population grows.

Putra Business School Assoc Prof Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff opined that inflation rate is expected to remain high in the coming months, contributed by many factors including crude oil.

“It will also be high due to the after effect of fiscal injection by the government which increases the liquidity but at the same time leads to higher demand for the products and services,” he told TMR.