Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Belt Tightening

How does one tighten a belt with no notches left?

Suddenly waking up to the economic reality facing millions of poor and working-class Malaysians, the main stream media are now full of “helpful” suggestions for those feeling the squeeze of rising costs of living and food prices. While we can make sacrifices and cut back on many "non-essentials', like roti telor minus the telor and char kuay tiau minus the extra see ham, how will this affect the very people in dire need of help: the farmer and the fisherman?

There are news reports that some poor parents have begun to substitute expensive infant formula with diluted condensed milk, rock sugar, coffee and tea to feed their growing toddlers and infants. Granted that there are many people worse off in poorer countries, but here in Malaysia?

Bloody depressing, if you ask me.

I believe the government has a lot more to do than just resort to dishing out rebates on road taxes etc. For the austerity drive to work, enforcement agencies must also be beefed up to prevent profiteering so that the rakyat do not have to suffer more. The recent announcement, here, that the the government will slash its expenditure to save RM2 billion is a good start but there must be absolute transparency and accountability on where the money will be spent.

Slashing ministers' holiday and entertainment allowances by a mere 10% is not enough. Najib's plea for the rakyat not to begrudge them this is rather lame considering the circumstances. Much more must be done since street protests fueled by hungry stomaches are what people power revolutions are made of.


  1. sure, lets not begrudge them. they deserve all the goodies having worked very hard for it. and you must be thankful to this govt. that being a net exporter nation, the price of petrol is higher than some net oil importing nations.
    surely, thats a herculean effort and for this their entertainment expenses and all expense paid holidays must be reinstated.
    thank you BN.

  2. How to beat the 2.70 fuel increase

    I dont know if my calculations are correct, but if you use less than 60-67 litre of fuel per month, your petrol cost will still be 1.92per litre. How?

    Example, lets use a Viva which mileage is 12-15km to 1 litre of petrol. Total consumption per month 67 litres at old price 1.92 you pay RM128.64. With the new 2.70you pay RM180.90. Hence your fuel extra cost is 180.90 - 128.64 = RM52.26

    Then there is the RM52 cash rebate our gomen give us. Which means in this example, one stands to still be paying at about old fuel price RM1.92

    With 67 litre, the Viva can travel about approx 700-730km (agak2 boleh dapat mileage 12km to 1 liter)

    just a thot!

    Kota Damansara

  3. hanim

    its not as neutral as you think. its the inflation that is most damaging and is akin to another tax. worst, once inflation expectations set in, its a tough fight without imposing other damaging measures on the populace; one of which is raise the interest rates and imagine the extra monthly instalments on top of higher bills. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE KILLER!

  4. Dear Capt,

    char kuay tiau minus extra that keropok thing.Then that's depressing.

  5. Captain,

    really hard times now...

    someone told me a lot of the poor cannot afford to eat rice, their staple food.


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