Kadir Jasin: Malaysians can expect their money to get smaller as living expenses get costlier in 2024

IF ONE were to deem 2023 as burdensome, nobody could predict for sure if financial hardship encountered by the B40 and M40 groups can be lifted or even lightened in 2024 for the actual situation can only be worse given some unpleasant tell-tale signs.

Of utmost concern to veteran journalist and blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin is the likelihood of the business community passing on cost increases to consumers.

“The rates of some existing taxes will be increased and new taxes will be introduced. Fuel and electricity subsidies will be removed for the T20 group,” he penned in his latest Facebook post which took the cue from his weekly column published in Malay language daily Sinar Harian.

“Even before my article was published, news came out on Saturday (Dec 30) saying that the luxury shopping centre Pavilion Kuala Lumpur will increase the parking fee.

“The new rate is RM4 for the first hour and RM4 for each additional hour compared to the current RM3. This means that it will cost RM12 for three hours. The (local) authorities must monitor and act if there are valid reasons. This is really a cut-throat hike.”

If the above is not enough, Kadir also hit out at the fact that all of a sudden, some types of medicine ran out of supply in many pharmacies in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

“This could be a trick and business strategy. Supplies are available but are kept in the store. When the new year comes, they suddenly re-appear but with a new and more expensive price tag,” lamented the national journalism laureate.

“Although Malaysia’s economy is predicted to grow at a higher rate in line with the world economy, the welfare of the common people will be more affected by developments in the country.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted Malaysia’s economic growth to rise slightly at a rate of 4.3% from the expected 4% in 2023 while local forecasters expect growth within the 4.5% to 5.5% range.

“Price increases and escalating cost of living is difficult to avoid due to the reform of fuel and electricity subsidies, the 2% increase in service tax and the implementation of both the capital gains tax and tax on online transactions from abroad,” justified Kadir.

“New taxes and increases in existing tax rates as well as reductions in subsidies often cause the price of goods and services to rise.”

Datuk A. Kadir Jasin

The former editor-in-chief of mainstream New Straits Times is also critical of the “low inflation rate” economic indicator which has often been heralded as proof of the unity government’s success over the past year but many a time, such rate is not reflective of what is experienced on the ground by many lay Malaysians.

“Private research house Kenanga Research predicts that next year’s inflation rate will be between 2.5% and 3% compared to less than 2% in 2023. But an analysis of the details provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia shows that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached the highest level in history in October 2023 at 130.90 points,” asserted Kadir who started off as a cadet journalist with Bernama in 1969.

“Above all else, IMF predicts next year’s global inflation rate of around 5.8%. Core inflation is not expected to return to the 2% level until 2025.” – Jan 1, 2024

Main pic credit: Harian Metro

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE