KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry will reactivate the National Cost of Living Action Council to observe the impact of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) which will come into effect on Sept 1.
Its minister, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, said that the matter was discussed and decided upon in a Cabinet meeting recently.
“The council was established by the previous government, and we find it will help people to deal with the rise in the cost of living.
“The council will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. A few other ministries, including Transportation, Education and Health, will also be involved in this council,” he said on the TV3 morning talkshow Borak Kopitiam.
Saifuddin added that a range of factors are contributing to the rising cost of living, and they include the price of transportation, utilities, housing and household goods.
“The Department of Statistics has been conducting a simulation programme (to gauge the effect of zero-rated) Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“Now (they will monitor) the implementation of the SST,” he said.
Saifuddin added that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will also help the government determine the rate of increase in consumer goods prices and consumer spending.
“(The CPI) refers to a consumer basket which we calculate based on the cost of consumer spending in the country. We will present this to Cabinet.
“The consumer basket includes transportation, housing, utilities and health costs,” he said, adding that preliminary findings of a simulation in a drop in prices after the GST was zero-rated had been tabled in Parliament before.
On the same matter, Saifuddin urged the public to become the eyes and ears of the ministry in monitoring the implementation of SST across the country.
“The Ministry will not be able to monitor the rise in prices of goods nationwide with only 1,044 officers.
“So I am requesting that consumers monitor the price of goods via the ‘Price Catcher KPDNKK’ app for the ministry to alert the authorities (if irregularities are found),” he added.