The government must improve on the country’s food security position and prioritize agricultural development.
PETALING JAYA: Goods prices have gone through the roof and are a little out of control now.
As such, the government must draw up long-term plans to implement institutional reforms to stabilize goods prices and minimize the impact on the people.
Asia Business Center tax and financial adviser Datuk Chua Tia Gua said there isn’t any short-term solution to this problem at this moment, as it is part of a global phenomenon beyond what our government can do.
He also said the situation today could be attributed to chronic problems in the country’s economic structure.
He told Sin Chew Daily in a telephone interview that in the near term, the government could mitigate the impact of rising prices on the people through continued subsidies such as in the prices of flour, cooking oil and chicken.
“Additionally, the government can stabilize goods prices through price controls. However, this can only be established upon the condition operators are adequately subsidized by the government, or they can choose to halt their production in order to cut losses.”
As for long-term price stabilization solutions, Chua felt that the issue entails the entire country’s economic structure, especially the issue of food security, adding that the government must improve on the country’s food security position and prioritize agricultural development, including proper use of the land.
“We have plenty of land, a relatively small population and rich natural resources, but ironically a lot of food still needs to be imported, including mutton, beef and coconut.
“We are a complete flop when it comes to harnessing our natural resources. We only use 5% of our land to grow vegetables and fruits, and this percentage is extremely low when compared to the land dedicated to oil palm and rubber plantation.”
Another area that warrants the government’s attention is animal feed needed in poultry farming, according to Chua.
“We can grow corn as food for chicken, for instance. Anyway, all this is structural problem, but for so many years we have overlooked this area.”