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By Karen Bong and Christopher Lidom
KUCHING, July 2: The Sarawak government has increased subsidies for energy and rentals for government buildings as temporary measures to tackle the current troublesome economic conditions due to inflation and recession that have put immense pressures on living costs.
Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that Sarawak and Malaysia, in general, must be prepared with policies in place as the country is bound to face an economic crisis, given that the western economy appears to be heading to a recession.
“So we will be affected by this, which could last for one or two years, but it is not that long.
“It is a complicated issue, but like it or not, we have to find a solution. This is a temporary solution because it is an economic cycle, and we are bound to face this — inflation and recession,” he said at a doorstep interview today.
Abang Johari was responding to a question from press members on what measures the Sarawak government will take to overcome the rising cost of living in Sarawak.
He was met after officiating at the Sarawak’s 1st Rover Moot ceremony that aims to promote scouting activities among communities at the Waterfront Kuching here.
On whether the government will provide more assistance, especially for the needy, Abang Johari said the government would look into it and gather more data so they could determine the best way to help the people.
“The Sarawak government is already helping first-time home buyers with a RM10,000 deposit for the down payment. This is among the measures taken by the government.
“This (economic crisis and pressure on costs of living) is a problem faced not only by Malaysia but globally due to uncertain economic conditions and geopolitical consequences,” he added.
Abang Johari pointed out that there is no straightforward solution to this problem as it requires a national and, more importantly, a State policy that could increase and strengthen food production and security in the country, especially Sarawak.
“First, Malaysia is a country that imports goods, and secondly, the ringgit is weak now. These will definitely impact the costs of living.
“As I have mentioned, building a strong agriculture sector based on technology is important to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This can stabilise the price,” he said.
Sarawak Scout Council president and Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom and National acting Chief Scout Major General Prof Dato Dr Mohd Zin Bidin were among those present. — DayakDaily