Dear Malaysian Government……………
This may be a dry topic to post about but I see it important to do so because we love Malaysia and the issue affects everyone in this land.
A lady walked to me with a small paper notebook in her hands, politely asked, “Dear sir, I wonder whether I could have a few minutes of your time?”
Half way eating my noodles, I looked at her, thinking that she was just another sales girl trying to promote something to me, I said in a reluctant voice, “What is it all about?”
She cleared her throat and said, “I am a reporter from XXX Press. I would like to interview you to solicit some opinions about the recent hike in petrol prices in Malaysia.” I looked at my noodles and pondered, “If I agree to her interview, this bowl of noodles will become cold and it will taste bad. However, if I don’t agree, I find myself loosing an opportunity to reflect an ordinary citizen’s voice about the Government’s decision.” So, I made up my mind for the latter.
First of all, I must say I am in a dilemma about the Government’s policy to increase petrol prices. On one hand, I don’t like the increase because it has impact on the livelihood of all the citizens in this land. Petrol and diesel are two major fuels for transportation. In today’s modern and connected world, almost all products and services are affected by transportation costs. I believe all businesses will somehow find ways to pass on the increased costs to the consumers in order to maintain profitability. The worse case, and I am sure it will happen, that some unethical businessmen take this “opportunity” as an excuse to quantum jump their selling prices for an even higher and extraordinary gains. I have empathy especially for the part of our population who are already low income earners and yet facing such inflationary pressure. I have friends who are widows and single-parent families, they are already struggling to make ends meet every month. I dare not imagine how they are going to cope with this challenge without financial assistance.
On the other hand, when I look at the ever increasing national debts and weakening of Malaysian currency, I know that Malaysia cannot continue to depend on raising even higher debts to subsidize items such as fuel. We either cut subsidies or raise taxes to pull through the crisis. Neither of these fiscal policies is bullet proof, they will somehow affect the livelihood of the population. The idea of the country going bankrupt may not be imminent but it is not an impossibility if we continue with this trend. Adhering to macroeconomic policies, the Government seems to have made the right decision to cut subsidies.
However, I feel that I need to convey this very important question to the Government:
What would the Government do with the saving?
I really do not wish to see that these savings which our fellow citizens have to pay are being channeled into any of the following categories:
2) Other forms of subsidies which benefit only a small and/or specific group of people
3) Some mega projects which do not generate local employment but increase our dependence on foreign workers
Cutting subsidies is one of the macroeconomic policies that our Government has made to solve the problem of high national debts. If this is a policy will spin off more investments, increase local employment and ultimately bring about a higher standard of living for Malaysians, I am sure the citizens of Malaysia who love this land don’t mind the short term suffering for a brighter future for our future generations.
Meanwhile, we have to address the poor in the society. We are to encouraged to show greater charity and love for the less privileges groups. For those who have earned a decent living and benefit from this country, we should be more willing to share with others – even though it may mean it affects our current standard of living temporarily.
It took about 20 minutes to share my thoughts with the lady reporter, I saw her busy scribbled on her notebook. She left me with a bowl of cold noodles which did not appeal to my palette. I used the pair of chopsticks and took the noodles, tugged it into my mouth………surprisingly it did not taste as bad as I thought, in fact it was quite delicious….may be I was glad that I had the opportunity to pour out what had been inside me.
I do not know whether what I shared will be published in the Chinese press but I do pray that the Malaysian Government hears the voices of ordinary citizens like me and make wise decision to improve our country’s economies.
Pray For Malaysia