| December 11, 2013
The recent price hikes are just the beginning. Tolls, public transport fares, Quit Rent, sewerage and cooking gas too will go up soon enough.
No leader of a nation will trouble its citizens unless he himself is in trouble. And this seems to be the case with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for right now he is having trouble in servicing the nation’s national debt.
The solution however is very simple. He just needs to trouble the citizens by obtaining funds from them to service the debt and that is what he is doing now via subsidy cuts.
After the petrol hike in early September, we had subsidy cuts for sugar and then the hike in assessment for KL and Ipoh followed by the hike in power tariff which will begin in three weeks time. One after another it is just bad news for the low-wage earner at year-end.
According to the former PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, the low-wage earner not only has to bear the burden of these hikes but also the ‘knock-on chain effect’ from these price increases.
“All these hikes will cause the price of groceries and services to go up, not to mention the fact that factories will also be increasing the prices of their products.
“The low-wage earners suffer the most because they will not be getting big pay hikes to commensurate with the increase in the cost of living unlike those in the executive level,” remarked the current PAS Research Director.
This will simply mean that the low income group will need to tighten up their belt more which will in turn adversely affect their standard of living.
“The inflation rate for the poor and the low-income group will be much higher than 4% which may cause them to default in their monthly loan repayments. As of now the statistics concerning the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) has been purposely kept a secret by Bank Negara.
“Will there be more bankrupt cases then?” questioned Dzulkefly, adding that the prime minister is highly irresponsible in squeezing money out of the citizens via the GST (Goods & Services Tax) which burdens the poor more than the rich.
Najib is certainly a cruel leader for reducing the subsidies and then implementing the GST. It is certainly a double-blow for the poor citizens and low-income folks.
And these price hikes which are coming fast and furious is just the beginning. Tolls, public transport fares, Quit Rent, sewerage and cooking gas too will go up soon enough.
It can also be seen that the BN government only favours their cronies as Dzulkefly has informed this columnist that sugar and electricity are owned by their cronies and therefore these hikes will only give them more profits.
“TNB being a public utility company should look after the interest of the public first and foremost as the public are the stakeholders. Making massive profits should not be the bottom line for TNB,” commented Dzulkefly.
Our government then is nothing more than a profit-making cartel. It is not a government that takes care of the rakyat’s interests and well-being.
“We Malaysians are thus very unfortunate to have such a government as Najib seems to have just woken up from a long coma just in time to realise that the nation is in serious financial trouble,” added Dzulkefly.
The interest payment levied on the national debt could be as high as RM1 million a day. Who knows the actual figure?
Suffice to say, the interest will be massive. As such, each and every one of us Malaysian citizens must fork out at least RM20,000 to pay the debt.
Foreign workers too are not really helping our nation’s economy as they remit about RM20 billion back to their home country.
Moreover things in Malaysia are expensive. In Britain one can buy a sandwich for 99 pence and a newspaper for 35 pence and for the poor, they can even buy an old house for 1 pound sterling. Here in Malaysia, a sandwich costs at least RM2.50 these days.
Comparing dollar for dollar, the pound is much more powerful than the ringgit as prices in Britain have stayed relatively low for a long time. Although Britain is an old country with not much industry nor manufacturing, the British economy seems to be chugging along just fine.
There is no one really very poor in Britain whereas in Malaysia, there are still many very poor rural and urban folks.
And because of Najib’s spendthrift leadership and less-than stellar economic know-how, we the rakyat are now bearing the burden of his wasteful ways.
Najib’s economic skills is nothing much to shout about as he just spends and spends and then leaves the rakyat to foot the bill.
His economic skills which some people have labelled as ‘Najibnomics’ is actually nothing but ‘nonsense-nomics’.
Selena Tay is a DAP member and a FMT columnist.