Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cost of living in Malaysia

Recently , I came across an article in an opposition supported website  that blames the rise of cost of living squarely on  the ruling coalition- BN ( or the opposition members would call it "Barang Naik" instead of Barisan Nasional) Whether this is true or not  is a very big issue for ordinary Malaysians. It could also be a major issue in the coming 13th general election said to be in January 2013 which is after Raya when government servants again will be informed  that they will get another half month of bonus. The BN government has been giving out monies non stop since the beginning of the year with the hope that they will be retained in this coming election. Whether the money factor will help them  get the minimum majority in the Parliament is something that we have to wait and see.

Jenahak RM 30 a kilo

Happier times?
RM 130 thousand
However, when it comes to price increases we don't have to wait and see. We could just see it increasing by the day. Just go to the wet market and see the prices that we have to pay. Ikan Tenggiri that recently costs around RM 20 ringgit a kilo is now almost RM 28 ringgit. Ikan Jenahak which is normally a ringgit of two higher than Ikan tenggiri is now sold nearly RM 30. Reasonably large prawns that were sold RM 19-20 ringgit a kilo  a  few months ago  is now being sold at 35-55 ringgit Malaysia. The cheapest fish on the market is Ikan keli and  it now sells RM 6 a kilo. The catfishfish was never a favourite among Malaysians. But now it is my youngest son's favorite. (My wife will not  fry the fish if it comes with the head and I would always asked the fishmonger to chop off the heads first before taking them home. )  Even the greens don't escape the price increase.
No more RM 1 for Duit Raya

In this holy  month of Ramadan even the Berbuka Puasa buffet does not escape the price increase. Just a few year ago the average price of a buffet in a  4-5 star hotel were around RM 45 - RM 60 . But now the average is nothing less than RM80.00 ++. If you add up the taxes it is almost RM 100 per pax. I used to take  my family to break fast 2 or 3 times at a 4 star  hotel during the Ramadan but now I'm having a second thought. I've been telling my children that during the Ramadan we should practice austerity and hence could not go for the Ramadan buffet. My children  of course  don't buy my arguments. My favourite cafe, Nuin, in section 9 of Bandar Baru Bangi which used to offer the cheapest Ramadhan buffet at RM 33 is now promoting the buffet at RM 40. I think we cant find any more buffet that costs less than RM 40.

I remember during my childhood time during the Raya we would cycle and visit as many houses as possible for "duit Raya" and would be happy to get  10 or 20 sen from each  house that we visited. We would just go to each  house and demanded "duit Raya" and we  utterly refused at being forced to eat the "kueh Raya" first. We just wanted the money and  once we got it, we would rush out of the house and go to the next one. But now if you gave RM 1  "duit Raya" to the boys making rounds they would curse you incessantly. They expect nothing less that RM 5. The value of money is getting smaller .  Despite having more money we get less value. 

The price of cars too have gone up many times over. I remember when I was just working and wanting to get a new car - the price of a Toyota Corolla was just RM 33 thousand ringgit. Now the same model sells for around 130 thousand ringgit. The biggest increase of all is the price of a house that  has spiraled uncontrollably. The price of a my terraced house that I bought 15 years ago was just RM12O K and now in Bandar Baru Bangi the same terraced house with smaller built up area is being sold at half a million ringgit.Everything now is expensive. Even education. To get a degree one needs to spend at least 30-40 thousand ringgit. Think how much money you have to spend on education for your children.

I don't know whether blaming or voting out the BN government would bring down the price of everything but I suspect instability will cause  more harm than good. I believe that the high cost of living is a global phenomenon.But some price increases are not justified. This is strictly  because of greed by some unscrupulous people. These people will have  to be punished.

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