“Cost of living: Quit blaming the Gov’t and stretch your Ringgit”

LIKE every other Malaysian, I am equally affected by the high price of goods these days and the increasing costs of living. 

However, there are certain observations I would like to share with others which I have personally experienced. 

I come from a technical background and due to the nature of my work, I need to travel regularly to neighbouring countries for routine maintenance work which my company is engaged in. When I am not travelling, I spend most of my time in my office in front of a computer. 

With a non-working wife and three children to support, what I earn just about cuts it with a little left for savings. 

Hence, my family and I have taken all measures possible to reduce our expenses, including bringing home cooked food to the office and school. 

I am a coffee lover and easily drink up to four cups a day. This I would say is an expensive habit, not as costly as cigarettes, but something which could even go up to RM50 a day – depending on the coffee type you drink. 

Of course, many of my colleagues are constantly complaining that they are broke by mid-month. Of course, why won’t they be if you keep ordering in coffee twice a day along with snacks from Starbucks and Coffee Bean, through Food Panda or Grab. 

To me, it is simple – home cooked food and coffee bags which could last me for days, which are about the same price as a single cup of coffee from Starbucks. 

If it is one thing Malaysians are good at is to complain. People are compulsive complainer and the one that gets the brunt of this is of course, the prime minister and his Government. 

(Photo credit: Harvard Business Review)


Global problem   

Like mentioned earlier, I travel a lot and it is clear that what Malaysia is experiencing now is a global phenomenon and something that is totally beyond the control of any Government. 

The prices of essentials are shooting up in every corner of the world. However, the one thing Malaysians do not realise or simply don’t want to acknowledge is that our prices are still cheaper compared to any of our neighbouring countries. 

For example, Indonesia is the number one producer of palm oil in the world but why is cooking oil more expensive there than compared to Malaysia? 

Let us not even go into the price of chicken. For most families in neighbouring nations, save for Singapore and Brunei, enjoying a chicken meal with the family is a luxury – something like going to Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) here about 45 years ago when I was a kid. 

I am not trying to defend anyone, but this is a reality which many of us simply refuse to accept. We do not look at the glass as half full but always half empty. If not for our subsidies, our inflation would have blown off the roof and there would probably be chaos in the country. 

From what I read, the Government is spending close to RM80 bil on subsidies, which is an alarming figure at a time like this. 

Why Starbucks and Coffee Bean? 

Coming back to my earlier topic about coffee. It is no wonder many of us are constantly complaining about not having enough money. 

To me, it is not only about how much one earns but also how one lives their life. What is wrong with drinking coffee which can be easily made using coffee bags and milk? 

Of course, if you order coffee online twice or thrice a day, it is going to cost you a fortune and when you run out of money, what else …blame the Government again. 

To me and I believe for many others also, the Government is doing all it can at a time when most other countries have their hands tied. 

Despite the ongoing global economic crisis, the Russia-Ukraine war and uncertain weather conditions, our prime minister is keeping his cool and running his administration well. 

Also, with all the criticism and often rude statements hurled against him, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob remains focused and determined to do his best. 

Malaysians “Mudah Lupa”  

One thing I have always asked those who engage in a political discourse with me is this. If not for Ismail Sabri, then who? 

When I throw them this question, everyone becomes quiet. It is simply because there is no one else capable of helming the top post now. Neither does anyone else have the required support. 

There are numerous loud mouth politicians out there who constantly shoot their mouths off, including those with a string of court cases behind them. We, as the electorate, should not be taken by them and should access things for ourselves. 

Before we go around blaming every little thing on Ismail Sabri, take a look around. Evaluate for ourselves the situation around us and ask, what else do we expect the prime minister to do? 

He is not someone who can control the prices of everything in the market which are determined by numerous factors beyond everyone’s control. 

We cannot keep on blaming everyone else for every shortcoming we face in life. From my personal experience, we are in a much better situation in terms of access to food, healthcare, education and even transport compared to many others. 

The prime minister is doing his best and we should also play our part so that we can make it through these hard times together. – July 3, 2022


Ir Andrew Seah is a contributor to FocusM.  

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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