Unless you are filthy rich and money is not an object, any Malaysian would have felt the pain of the economy slowdown, as prices for everything has seemingly went up, all but your income and salaries. When we took to complain about it however, the people in charge of our economy does not seem to have anything good to say.
You know, I don’t really blame them for the bad economy, as I very much understand that the entire situation is region-wide, and are not exclusively us. Yes the scandals did do us good, pushing us to the worst of the bunch, but there’s nothing we can do about it right now.
What really got to me is what they have to say, when Malaysians complain about the rising prices (which is normal, who would welcome price increases with open arms?), instead of saying something constructive, all we got was either stupidity or sarcasm:
1. Cook using GST-Free Ingredients
Sesekali sedia sarapan utk keluarga. Nasi goreng campur resepi tiada GST. Hidang terus. Lepas masak ini ada prgm UMNO pic.twitter.com/nMACQJQSmB
— Ahmad Maslan (@ahmadmaslan) June 14, 2015
Understand that when there is an additional tax, people will definitely make noise because they need to pay extra. I understand that our deputy trade and industry minister Ahmad Maslan is probably trying to give a constructive advice, but what he seemed to do is to fuel the people’s anger, by showing a picture of him cooking using GST-free ingredients – mainly because (allegedly) not all of the things he use are free of GST.
2. Take A Second Job
Amid bad economy prices increase were a norm and made worse as many jobs were lost. Ahmad Maslan strikes (in vain) again by offering his ‘constructive’ advice, suggesting that those who could not endure take up a second job – citing that he also had 3 ‘job’ – deputy minister, parliament member, and Umno information chief.
This had a backlash as many pointed out these are posts, not jobs like an office worker who took a security guard job at night would. We suggest Maslan to take a chill pill, and stop giving constructive opinions in the future, but points for effort!
3. Kangkung Price Dropped
I understand our Prime Minister’s frustration when people seemed to blame him when things go bad, but no praise when things are good. He give us a piece of his mind when he mentioned that despite all the hate for rising prices, nobody said anything when prices go down, citing Kangkung as an example. For the next couple of months, Kangkung achieved meme status.
I have to break this to you our dear Prime Minister – that’s the way it is when you are a person in power, it is part of your job to make sure everyone is happy! My boss would not say anything good if I finish my job on time, but will sure breathe fire at me when I don’t.
4. Wake Up Early To Avoid Toll
One of the biggest issues a few months back, is a large toll hike in major busy highways. When complained, we were given a sarcastic solution – wake up early, to avoid congestion in non-toll routes. That is almost impossible as most routes have tolls, and there are people who already awake as early as 4am to get to work! Should they wake up at 2am?
Malaysians have always complained about the unusually high number of tolled highways, and with such a high increase (over 100% in some areas) sparked a big issue, especially when GST was just implemented.
Being unsympathetic to their lifestyle and offering sarcastic advise will only fuel their anger and sway their votes – we suggest measures to help those in need instead.
5. Use Public Transportation
If you cannot afford to pay toll, use public transport! – that was another suggestion to the massive toll hike, which many were reluctant to use because of our badly managed public transportation. I do agree that that is a viable solution, until a couple months later when even public transportation get their massive price hike.
The public transportation fare hike hit students and the poor really hard, crushing the financial situation of many. What to do now, walk to work?
6. Leave Malaysia if you dislike the ruling government
Firstly, the ruling government does not represent Malaysia, so instead of leaving many would choose voting against you. Secondly, while many were thinking of leaving, most would not because they either love their country, or they cannot afford to do so (because price hikes have destroyed their income).
This is a very good example of what politicians should not say, when being faced with a PR crisis, because you are alienating voters, even hardcore ones who used to support you.
7. Be grateful that we are still peaceful
I assure you, many are still grateful that we are in fact still peaceful, but we are complaining because we know it wouldn’t last much longer if current problem persists. Racial tensions, crime-rate, religious radicalism and corruption are all-time high, precisely because the economy are all-time low, and are causing many to stress out and push many past the point of desperation.
We are grateful that nothing has happened yet, but we will REALLY be grateful when you can do something about it.
8. Chinese traders are at fault for pushing prices up
Finger pointing at a specific race does not help, you know. The Chinese people in Malaysia are facing financial pain as much as the other races, and traders are also complaining because they are being blamed for rising prices. In fact many traders (and not exclusively Chinese) choose to close down their businesses because rising prices has affected business to the point that they are losing money.
Can the politicians (from both sides) stop blaming, and start talking solutions? Please?
9. Oil prices are cheapest among the world
…and car prices among the most expensive (yes I know Singapore more expensive). Firstly I’d agree that our oil prices are very cheap a few years back, but with recent hikes and reduction in subsidy I doubt I can agree with that statement much longer. The country made billions every year from the oil industry, but it would appear that our economy is not really benefiting from it at all.
I am not a master economist so I may not understand, but the government does not seem to make any effort for us to understand anyway.
10. Lowest GST rate in the world
At this point nobody would care if it’s true, because to them even if it is low now, there is no indication that this statement will hold true in the future. Many has lost faith because the government did not do a good job of explaining why there is a price increase, and even when they do explain, they would change their statement again when they increase the price of everything else.
11. Malaysians can live with RM1.40 per day
Within a few month’s time, if not already, the symbol of affordable food – a slice of Roti Canai will cost as much as RM1.40 – the exact amount our Prime Minister Najib Razak claimed is enough to sustain a typical Malaysian. Add up a glass of ice water, and with GST it will probably balloon up to RM2 – just for a slice of fried flour and tasteless water.
And then the government wonders why Malaysians are always criticising the goverment, and making fun of almost everything they say.