May 10, 2008 / 5:10 AM / 12 years ago

Malaysia unveils anti-inflation plan on Monday: papers

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia will unveil on Monday measures aimed at containing inflation, especially rising prices of rice, domestic newspapers reported on Saturday.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the cabinet’s anti-inflation committee will meet on Monday to study various proposals to rein in prices and make a decision, the Malay language Utusan Malaysia newspaper said.

Malaysian annual inflation hit a 13-month high of 2.8 percent in March, driven mainly by costlier food, but it remains one of Southeast Asia’s lowest levels due to price controls on essential goods such as flour, rice and cooking oil.

“I have explained in the cabinet meeting today about the measures that will be discussed and taken up when the committee to counter inflation meets on Monday,” Utusan Malaysia quoted Abdullah as saying. “After the meeting, a decision will be announced.”

Abdullah said the anti-inflation committee will also announce measures to deal with a shortfall in rice supplies, the New Straits Times reported.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Malaysia is able to satisfy about 70 percent of its domestic demand for rice, but fills the difference by importing from other Southeast Asian nations, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, local media have said. The country consumes around 2.2 million tonnes of the commodity annually.

Global rice prices have hit record highs this year on shrinking supplies and rising demand.

Reporting by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Michael Urquhart

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