PAGOH Jul 31, 2011: The government is considering several measures, including introducing food stamps to help people cushion the impact of rising food prices.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the cabinet committee, tasked with dealing with the issue, which has been designated as a National Key Result Area (NKRA), would involve all relevant agencies as well as the private sector.
"We will look at short-term and long-term solutions, like providing direct aid to the needy to help them cope with the rising cost.
"In other countries, those in need are given stamps or annual allocations to buy food and other essential items.
"We may introduce similar measures," he said after launching the Doktor Turun Kampung programme and health carnival. Also present was Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Other measures were to provide incentives to increase food production and to step up enforcement to ensure traders do not indiscriminately raise prices.
The deputy prime minister said the rise in food prices was a global phenomenon due to several factors, mainly, the rising fuel price which has caused transport and production costs to spiral.
"Climate and environmental factors in food producing countries and the increase in global population are also reasons for the rise in food prices."
He added there were countries that were stockpiling their food supply and this was one of the contributing factors.
At the launch, he also donated a bus that had been converted into a mobile dental clinic that will be used in Muar and Pagoh.
The Doktor Turun Kampung programme is Muhyiddin's own brainchild. It is aimed at increasing the people's access to healthcare in Pagoh.
The programme starts on Aug 13 and will be held in 11 locations covering 31 villages. Some 30,000 people are expected to benefit from the programme, which will be held twice a month.