I’m quite amazed by the Minister of Trade and Consumer Affairs saying that the price reduction campaign has been a success. I wonder on what basis the Minister makes such a conclusion.
Any man in the street will tell you that the price of a lot of basic necessities and products in hawker stalls, restaurants and sundry shops remain the same. There may be a reduction in selective items or products, but generally, people will agree that prices have gone up for most goods.
When the price gone up dramatically last year, a lot of food outlet increases food price by 10 – 15%, citing the increase in oil price, electricity tariff and gas as justification for the increase in the prices. Since then, prices of oil have dropped equally dramatically. Anyone can tell you that prices in food outlet and all daily necessities have not gone down.
When I first came to Kuala Lumpur in 2004, the typical char kuey teow or prawn mee was only RM3.00. Today, it is RM3.80 – RM4.00. This means that there is an increase of 25 – 30 percent. For an average worker, one can safely assume that the income has not been able to cope up with the increase of food, not to even mention about the basic necessities and the comfort of life.
In time to come, hawker food will not be regarded as inexpensive. In view of the shortage of foreign workers and food outlets are very dependent on foreign workers, maybe we should practice what has been practiced in European cities. In Europe, the packed food for take away is even cheaper than eating within the premise. Maybe every food outlet should be looking at this alternative.
We should also relook at the calculation for inflation index in Malaysia. Food, transportation and house rental as basket of price should be reviewed. Otherwise, our inflation figure can be misleading.
The latest figure shows that inflation now is 3.9% last month compared to 9% in July last year.
This inflation figure does not reflect the reality on the ground. With savings interest in the bank at 2.5% and the inflation figure 3.9%, it is negative return if a person put his money in the bank. The worst hit are pensioners depending on savings since it will be negative return.