JOHOR BARU: The government could introduce targeted subsidies to B40 families or other needy groups such as the elderly, single mothers and disabled persons, says Johor Indian Petty Traders and Small Business Association.

Its chairman, D. Ravindran, said the living conditions in Kuala Lumpur and here are not the same, so the approach to handling the issue of the high cost of living should be different.

“I hope the new unity government will be able to come up with a win-win solution for everyone,” he said, adding that some of the sundry shops in the city centre are struggling to survive.

Ravindran said blaming shop owners alone was not fair as price hikes originated from manufacturers, so these are the issues that the government should look into.

“We do get complaints, but we have no choice but to raise prices; otherwise, we ourselves may go under.

“Restaurants in the city centre are also seeing fewer customers due to this,” he said, adding that a plate of biryani rice could cost up to RM18, up from RM12 previously.

Johor Food Trucks Association president Yusrezan Samsuri agreed, saying that micro and small-scale enterprises had been badly affected by uncontrolled price hikes.

“We talk about assisting SME businesses recover after the pandemic, but in reality, we are still struggling.

“The prices of goods this week will not be the same the following week, so it is really baffling. The government should step in and control this.

“High prices will lower the purchasing power of the locals, so business will be affected,” he said.

Yusrezan said a lack of raw materials on the market had also caused an increase in operational cost.

“For example, a restaurant needs about 10 trays of eggs to operate a day but due to the controlled supply, the owner can only get one tray a day.

“At times, we also have to absorb extra costs. This is what we are dealing with every day,” he said.