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.
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