An Opposition member of Parliament has cautioned that Malaysia will be facing a hunger crisis following the rising cost of living.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said Malaysia was facing a triple threat in the form of job and income losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, consequences of the December floods and now, exorbitant food prices.
“(A single mother) came to my office on Thursday, absolutely having given up on life. She has no money for food for herself and her four children.
“This case is one among many. However, as shocking as this may seem, the fact is we may very well be facing a hunger crisis in the country.
“In his innate wisdom, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob responded to this alarming situation by announcing RM100 in cash for every family.
“With the price increase, the single mother would not be able to feed her family with this money. Not even for a week. And neither can any other B40 family,” he said in a statement.
Santiago said some families were reportedly eating only one meal a day while others have resorted to eating more rice, fewer vegetables and even less meat.
“A study by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) noted that many families in Kuala Lumpur could not afford to eat the same amount of food as they did before their loss of income.
“Ismail Sabri responded, yet again, by removing price caps for chicken, eggs and cooking oil. We are taking away subsidies and in doing so the dignity of the poor as well.
“While the poor have no more savings, the government has no holistic solution as opposed to Singapore which has unveiled a S$1.5 billion (RM4.67 billion) economic package to combat inflation, he said.
Santiago urged the prime minister to act fast before more Malaysians go hungry every day.
He also called on the government to disburse RM250 cash aid to poor families, kickstart a lunch programme in schools and introduce other poverty-targeting policies that would help cushion the B40 community.
“In 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations recorded that 900,000 Malaysians were hungry.
“In the same year, the World Bank identified that three out of 10 Malaysians feel they do not have enough money to buy food.
“Fifty-two per cent of households living in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur do not have enough money for food,” he said. – NST