Posts Tagged ‘Price hikes


Umno stronghold in Selangor on shaky ground due to fuel price hikes

Umno stronghold in Selangor on shaky ground due to fuel price hikes

IF voter sentiment in the town of Kuang is any indication of Umno’s chances in Selangor in the coming election, then the ruling coalition should brace for a major disappointment.

And this is because voters in this Umno stronghold are prepared to show their anger at increasing fuel prices, via the ballot box.

During an Umno roadshow last night featuring Muhammad Muhammad Taib, who recently rejoined the party from PAS and later PKR, a lacklustre crowd of some 100 people turned up but many slowly left as the ‘ceramah’ dragged on.

For those who didn’t even show up, their explanation was also the reason for a growing discontent towards the ruling Barisan Nasional government – the spiking price of fuel.

“I knew about the ceramah and (Muhammad Muhammad) Taib’s presence here yesterday, but I had more important problems to attend to, like filling my petrol tank,” said Muhamad Kushairi Kamaruddin, a chicken rice seller who has been living in Kampung Setia since 1990.

The government yesterday announced another round of fuel price hikes, the highest since the new weekly managed-float system was introduced in March.

RON95 has gone up by 7 sen to RM2.38 per litre while RON97 up by 6 sen to RM2.66 per litre.

The price of diesel also increased by five sen to RM2.25 per litre, which was also a new high under the weekly float system.

Fuel prices have been going up for five consecutive weeks.

“Seven sen now, seven then, if you accumulate it, it is a lot,” said Kampung Permata village head Latif Shah Hussin Shah.

“It matters, especially for the low-income group and young voters in this area,” said the 58-year-old long-time Umno supporter.

He said that most residents there were concerned about how the fuel price hikes affected their daily spending, and how little they would have left “at the end of the month to feed their wives and children”.

Kuang is a state seat under the Selayang parliamentary constituency, and has never been won by the opposition.

State assemblyman Abdul Shukur Idrus from Umno won the seat against PKR candidate Tengku Maraziyah Tengku Sulaiman in the 2013 general election.

He won by a majority of 1,255 votes.

However, Umno grassroots leaders and long-time supporters believe that unless the government addresses the bread-and-butter issues hitting the people of Kuang and the rest of the country’s low-income residents, the next election might see a major upset for BN.

Umno stronghold in Selangor on shaky ground due to fuel price hikes
16 Nov 2017 – TMI


University students too poor to eat – in Malaysia?

Three out of four varsity students too broke to eat

Three out of four students in public universities in the country have admitted to being in situations where they were so broke they could not afford to eat, a survey by an NGO shows.

The survey on 25,632 students from six public universities by Muslim Volunteer Malaysia Association (MVM) found 57 percent of them saying that they allocate RM5 a day for food, 44 percent survive on instant noodles while 41 percent eat only rice with fried egg and sauce.

The study also found that 96 percent of those surveyed said they are under economic strain while 97 percent said they could use financial assistance from MVM.

The survey was conducted on students of Universiti Tekonologi Mara, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

The findings come after a picture of a note from a student at a mosque went viral on the social media.

In the anonymous note addressed to a mosque committee, the student apologised for “borrowing” several ringgit from the mosque collection box to buy food, after several days of going without a solid meal.

The student promised to return the money when he/she could, and asked that the mosque committee pray that he/she would succeed in his/her studies.

Commenting on the survey, PKR Youth student bureau chief Fahmi Zainol urged the government to consider providing free meals to needy students.

“The government must feel ashamed if it cannot do this, because there are already student groups setting up soup kitchens on campuses to feed their fellow students, despite their own lack of resources,” Fahmi (photo) said in a statement.

Three out of four varsity students too broke to eat
7 Jan 2016 – malaysiakini


Malaysians struggling with rising costs, ministers make funny suggestions


The Malaysian ministers’ guide to coping with rising costs

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Rising cost of living was a topic painfully at the forefront for most Malaysians throughout 2015, with many left — as minister Khairy Jamaluddin put it — at their breaking point.

Over the year, Malaysians were hammered by the Goods and Services Tax (GST), continued subsidy withdrawals, price increases and a ringgit whose value fell at breakneck speeds unseen since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

Malaysians struggling to mitigate skyrocketing costs were fortunate, however, to have government leaders who were ever ready to volunteer nuggets of their wisdom.

Here are some that Malay Mail Online were able to compile.

The Malaysian ministers’ guide to coping with rising costs
January 3, 2016 – MMO


Reasons to fume over Maslan’s ‘work two jobs’ solution

VIEWPOINT: Work–life balance is a concept of prioritising career and ambition against lifestyle (family, health, leisure, and spiritual) aspects of a person. This seems completely alien to Ahmad Maslan.

Development, in the 21st Century, does not mean human beings have to exert more in terms of creating value, through knowledge, skills and abilities but to have greater freedom to express and experience all facets of life as against merely being a drone. Again, this seems even more alien to Ahmad Maslan.

Development should be in tandem with growth within an economy and mankind. It’s not to revert back to the dark ages where in feudal times human beings were seen as slaves. Is this Ahmad’s mindset of development in Malaysia?

The International Trade and Industry deputy minister has been hit by a barrage ofwidespread indignation over his recent suggestion that Malaysians take on two jobs to cope with the rising costs of living.

“I think it’s not wrong (to have additional jobs) though we have regulations, but it is still one way to address rising costs,” he was quoted as saying last Saturday.

“Malaysians could start an online business for extra income,” he said, adding that one could work during office hours and still run an online business on the side.

But, it didn’t end there.

On Monday, Ahmad suggested that Malaysians join the Airbnb global home-share programme to earn extra money at little cost.

“#2kerja List of homestays in 190 countries including Msia. Cost of holidays becomes cheaper & owners get revenue,” was what he posted in Bahasa Malaysia on his Twitter handle @ahmadmaslan.

Malay Mail Online reported that his message baffled some hoteliers who have sought to distinguish home-stay programmes from “house-stays,” which are essentially Airbnb-like services in which house-owners host tenants for a shorter time period.

Ridicule only seemed to have emboldened Ahmad to ramble on which led to an ‘open season’ in the hunt against him.

In full time and contract employment — which are bound by a contract – it’s specified that an employee (mainly professionals) are not allowed to take on second jobs, if they do they could be sacked.

DAP Labour Bureau chief A Sivanesan said an employee in the public sector has to get prior written approval from the head of department (to take on another job) and “that failure will result in the employee being subjected to disciplinary action.”

For low-income earners, did it occur to the deputy minister that they may not have the facilities to start an online business? To take on a second job for them would mean that they have to spend more on travelling costs, food and sacrifice any free time with the family and other obligations.

Fellow Umno MP Shahrir Abdul Samad said an overworked population will affect the “welfare of families.”

Umno rebel Khairuddin Abu Hassan, also jumped in: “We should not devote all our time to making money, to the point we neglect to supervise and nurture our children. Children also need time with their parents, and families need time together every day to maintain familial closeness.”

Taking on second jobs also means that there would be less time for rest, and in the long run, productivity or performance of the person will be affected, let alone having more health issues.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary general N Gopal Krishnam said the idea was not constructive as it would affect personal and family life.

“Research has shown that having two jobs will lead to a negative impact on health and productivity,” he said, adding that this could lead to social problems in the long run.

Wanita Keadilan Chief Zuraida Kamaruddin pounced on Ahmad saying that his logic is questionable and he appears to be disorientated.

“He and the BN government are disconnected from the suffering of the people. A caring government should always find ways to alleviate the difficulties and sufferings of its people,” she said in a statement on Monday

Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said ministers should find solutions to help the people, not suggest measures that might further burden them.

“A minister should be someone who is level-headed, wise and competent in solving the problems of the rakyat and the country,” he said.

He cited that the average monthly household income in Malaysia last year was RM4,585 with mean household expenditure at RM3,578.

by K Harinderan
31 Dec 2015 – Ant Daily
Reasons to fume over Maslan’s ‘work two jobs’ solution


Insensitive minister making fun of people’s hardship

All work and no play makes Maslan a dull boy

QUICK TAKE: What do the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan and the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Maslan have in common?

Both made outrageous, insensitive remarks about the average Malaysian, who is struggling to keep his head above water.

Last month, Abdul Rahman told the public that they should wake up early, so that they can use toll-free routes and avoid the traffic jams, when commuting.

A few days ago, Ahmad Maslan took pride in telling Malaysians that if they wanted to cope with the rising cost of living, they should start moonlighting.

Hinting that Malaysians should emulate him, he tweeted, “I have three jobs. MP, deputy minister, and Umno Baru information chief. Many in Malaysia are working two jobs.

“Working hard to make an honest living,” he added.

Ahmad Maslan is confused. He does not have three jobs. What he claims are jobs, are merely posts. Being an Umno Baru politician is not what people consider, “making an honest living”.

Today, in a quiet corner of Shah Alam, there lives a young woman – a single mother of three children. She is the driver, cook, gardener, cleaner, and handywoman for her household.

She also takes care of her ailing mother. Having been widowed, at an early age, she is fortunate to have an understanding boss, at a sundry shop.

If she needs to take her child to a doctor, she can come in late and make up the time, later. She is grateful that her elderly mother lives with her.

With children who are too young to take public transport, this mother drives them, to and from school. She keeps the house and garden as tidy as she can, and does simple plumbing repairs herself.

If this woman took other jobs, as Ahmad Maslan suggests, would she ever see her family and have time to care for her mother? This single mother is aware that most part-time jobs do not pay well.

The ordinary Malaysian, spends more hours commuting, than having quality time with his family. Unlike ministers, the rakyat do not have drivers to transport them along routes which have been cleared for them.

Ahmad Maslan should occasionally take a bus to work and see how people struggle with our decrepit public transport system. He would be exhausted, waiting for the bus and become bone-weary from being crushed against hoi polloi, and he will undoubtedly ponteng from the strain.

by Mariam Mokhtar
30 Dec 2015 – Ant Daily
All work and no play makes Maslan a dull boy


Clown minister suggests two jobs to cope with rising costs

Ahmad Maslan takes a beating for ‘work two jobs’ remark

Opposition lawmakers and a social activist take a swipe at the Umno deputy minister, with Tony Pua suggesting the people sell nasi lemak and Art Harun saying the PM himself holds three jobs.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Maslan’s “work two jobs to cope with rising costs of living” remark continues to receive flak from many quarters with a social activist and opposition lawmakers taking to social media to give him a good telling off.

Lawyer and social activist Art Harun tweeted: “Another useful advice from amat maslan (sic) – take 2 jobs to overcome rising costs. Yes. Wake up early. Avoid toll road. Makan kangkung (eat kangkung).”

He also took to Facebook to post “Don’t be angry with Mat Maslan for suggesting that we should take 2 jobs to overcome rising costs of living. Even the Prime Minister takes at least 3 jobs. He is the PM. He is the Finance Minister. He is 1MDB’s advisor. Life must be hard for him too.”

MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar, in sharing the news report where Ahmad made the remark, said: “menteri tidak merasa, maka mudahlah mengarah” (Minister’s don’t experience it, so it is easy to issue orders).

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said: “And the story continues for Datuk Ahmad Maslan. Yes guys, if you think the cost of living is too high – no worries, just take up 2 jobs. You can sell nasi lemak during weekends, or drive Uber cars in the evening. Rakyat didahulukan! (People first)”

On Sunday, news portal Astro Awani quoted Ahmad as making the call, saying that holding down two jobs was not uncommon as it was done by many around the world.

“I think it’s not wrong (to have two jobs) in Malaysia, though we have regulations, but it is still one way to address the rising cost of living.

“They can work during office hours and still run their online business…As long as they have enough sleep and come to work. They can run their business on weekends,” he was quoted as saying.

Ahmad Maslan takes a beating for ‘work two jobs’ remark
December 28, 2015 – FMT


Taxi, bus fares UP, UP, UP

Naik, Naik, Naik

Fare hike too sudden, steep, says think tank

The hike in budget taxi and express bus fares to be implemented on April 1 will be a double blow to consumers who will also be hit with the goods and services tax (GST) that will be implemented on the same day, said independent think tank Institut Rakyat.

Its executive director, Yin Shao Loong, said the 43% fare hike for taxis and 23% hike for express buses announced by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) earlier today is a sudden and sharp hike.

He said this steep increase represented a regulatory failure on SPAD’s part, as the agency was supposed to conduct fare reviews every two years with focus on small and manageable increments of 10%.

“Having failed to conduct a fare review for the last six years, SPAD has now opted for a sharp and sudden increase,” Yin said in a statement.

“While taxi and bus operators may enjoy a sudden boost in income to offset the increased costs with the GST, their customers will suffer a 30% or more, increase in their transportation budget come April 1.”

Yin admitted that the various problems raised by taxi passengers, including haggling over the fare and unmetered rides, were due to inadequate economic incentives provided by the existing fare structure.

But he said that SPAD should also consider the interest of consumers, who are also struggling to make ends meet.

Yin said SPAD should have considered a gradual increase in fares to balance both consumer and business interests, which would help promote the use of public transport in the country.

He said a gradual phase-in of the overdue fare increase, at 10% at regular intervals over a period of one to two years, would be fairer than making up for six years in one fell swoop.

Fare hike too sudden, steep, says think tank
19 March 2015 – TMI


Drastic subsidy cuts main concern for Malaysians

While Malaysians collectively groan over the recent fuel subsidy cut, the lower-income group has a real fear – that further cuts in Budget 2015 will raise the cost of living beyond their stagnant incomes. ?

Already feeling the pinch from last week’s petrol price hike, low-wage earners are? now worried that Putrajaya may slash more subsidies for basic necessities in today’s budget, and hope that there would be mechanisms to regulate the rise in living costs.

“We hope the price of goods won’t rise after this. We small traders are just hoping for that one thing,” said Zaki, who sells kuih and lives in Sungai Buloh.

“Everybody was angry when the fuel hike happened. But what can we do? So that’s what I hope, that they don’t increase the price of goods so we can still earn a living,” said the 40-year-old, who did not disclose his full name.

Last week, the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperation and Consumerism? announced that the price of the RON95 petrol and diesel would increase by 20 sen as part of the subsidy rationalisation plan to reduce the national deficit.

Petrol now costs RM2.30 a litre compared with RM2.10 before, while diesel costs RM2.20 compared with RM2.

Lawyer Michelle Yesudas, 27, said the lower-income group would bear the brunt of further subsidy cuts and hoped the government would not touch basic necessities such as oil, salt and rice.?

“The government must also ensure developers provide more low-cost houses so that everyone can own a home,” she said.

The working class say they are already finding it hard to make ends meet as they juggle family needs, business overheads, and inefficient public transport that forced them to rely on personal vehicles – factors that make it hard to stretch their wages.

Factory supervisor M. Surendran said his monthly income was not enough to cover the needs of his growing family.?

Surendran, 49, said the government should be more understanding of the difficulties faced by low-wage earners and introduce allowances to offset rising living costs.

“What the government gives us is not enough. They should introduce transport allowances. My daily commute to work depends on my salary alone.

“The BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) handouts are just one-off. I have three children who are still studying,” he told The Malaysian Insider.?

He said the government should introduce incentives to enable blue-collar workers to live more comfortably.

“Right now our salary is low. If both the prices of goods and our salary increase at the same time, then things would all right. But our salary stays the same.”

Drastic subsidy cuts main concern for Malaysians
10 October 2014 – TMI


Being extravagant and recklessly wasteful

Economic adviser Abdul Wahid Omar must knock some sense into premier Najib and the rest of the ‘spendthrift BN politicians’ to spend wisely.


The regular Malaysians are having it hard, having to deal with an expensive cost of living and at the same time being dictated to about their religion, that too by politicians who are hopelessly ignorant and insensitive in more ways than one.

That the start of 2014 has been turbulent for Malaysians in general and the non-Malays in particular is an understatement.

With the ruling Barisan Nasional government displaying zero empathy in relating to the hard-pressed rakyat’s plight in surviving the harrowing escalating cost of living, the people are left to their own devices to do what is best for them.

As such, Malaysians who are already bogged down with the challenge of coping with the onslaught of hardships can do without the sardonic remarks made particularly by the BN MPs.

Leading the way is the country’s prime minister Najib Tun Razak whose inability to feel for the rakyat has further worsened matters.

While the rakyat back home suffers, Najib decided to enjoy himself abroad. It seems both he and wife Rosmah Mansor were overseas during the Christmas and New Year period.

However, keeping in mind today’s harsh reality and the people’s struggle to get a grip over the rising cost of just about everything, from electricity tariffs to the proposed LRT ‘platform fees’, leaders like Najib should exercise wisdom each time he begins to open his mouth to address the rakyat, his intentions whatsoever.

Bad enough that the Najib-Rosmah indulgences come at the expense of the taxpayers welfare. Unfortunate for the nation that Najib is one leader who fails to take cognisance from past mistakes.

Prodigal Najib

The premier was recently lambasted by the very rakyat whose well-being he assured would be top priority.

This time it was Najib’s callous statement that Malaysians are not thankful even though the price of kangkung (water spinach) has gone down.

Being extravagant and recklessly wasteful
Jeswan Kaur
January 16, 2014 – FMT


Malaysia’s Najib Faces Party, Public Protest

Subsidy cuts play into UMNO rebellion

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak enters 2014 beset by growing hostility from both the public and within his own political party, the United Malays National Organization, characterized by a deluge of New Year messages across cyberspace celebrating the “year of barang naik,” Malay language for rising prices of items.

That is a play on the initials BN, for Barisan Nasional, the national ruling coalition. It has become an opposition battle cry to the point where Najib mentioned it himself in a recent speech

Najib is making an astute move now, after national and intraparty elections have been completed, taking on the necessary but unappetizing task of dismantling decades of subsidies that have driven government debt close to the statutory limit of 55 percent of gross domestic product. In the wake of both sets of elections, he is temporarily invulnerable to both opposition and intraparty assaults.

However, electricity tariffs have risen by 15 percent, sugar subsidies have been cut. Last September, Petronas, the national energy company, cut fuel subsidies in a move that it said would save the government RMB1 billion annually. Public anger at the cutting of the subsidies is substantial and growing

In addition, many in the party rank and file are still furious over widespread spending to keep the current leadership in place in the September intraparty elections.

That has brought the prime minister under unprecedented attack from bloggers aligned with the wing of the party controlled by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who are delivering an extraordinary onslaught on his lifestyle and that of his wife, even going so far as an unprecedented call for attention to corruption within UMNO itself. The attacks had been expected from the time Najib blocked Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, from becoming one of the party’s three vice presidents in the September polls.

Najib has sought to deflect criticism, saying the price hikes have been caused by factors such as the global economy and extreme weather that cut into the fish catch and drove up the price of vegetables. The government has also sought to spread the pain by cutting government ministers’ allowances by 10 percent, banning civil servants from business class flights, restricting expenses on official government functions. However, that hasn’t mollified voters, who staged public protests over New Year’s.

Najib also enraged voters by leaving for most of the holidays, going to Las Vegas and other watering holes with his wife, Rosmah Mansor, whose free-spending ways have alienated large swaths of the conservative Malay Muslim community. He is being called “Mr Nowhere” because of his absences from the country.

“A putsch is in the air, definitely, as the frustration with Najib’s free spending and extravagant lifestyle increases,” a Malay businessman told Asia Sentinel. “Najib is in the weakest position any prime minister in Malaysia has ever seen.”

Malaysia’s Najib Faces Party, Public Protest
MON,13 JANUARY 2014 – Asia Sentinel

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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?