Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Malaysians want to be independent financially - BRIM not a RIGHT but a handout from time to time creating dependence on PM Najib and the BN government

The prices of RON95 petrol and diesel rose by 20 sen today, and again it was done suddenly and secretly. This BN government asked consumers to shift to RON95 from RON97 with the assurance that the government would keep the price of RON95 low - and many Malaysians, despite the negative consequence of changing fuel to their vehicles did so - and yet again JANJI TIDAK DITEPATI - and the people have been betrayed yet again, and now will have to bear with the increase.

Why is the timing of these 'increases' kept secret? - we were informed of the price hike hours before it happened, and as before many rushed to fill up their fuel tanks to safe a few ringgit before midnight. I wonder whether friends of the PM and the government knew about it earlier, and filled up their fuel tanks earlier?

MAKE BRIM OR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE A RIGHT IN LAW - no more at the discretion of the PM and his government

To compensate the increased cost of living, the government is talking about increasing BR1M payouts. Hello, this BR1M entitlement is at present not a right in law - it depends on the discretion ('budibicara') of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Why don't they past an Act of Parliament (a law) guaranteeing the receipt of this 'BR1M' or financial assistance to those earning low income. That Act can stipulate the who exactly will benefit, i.e. based on income per month, and really there must be some sort of sliding scale, to ensure that poorer persons and households benefit more. Then, it will be a RIGHT, and Malaysians do not have to wait around like 'beggars' for financial assistance from the government.

We had BR1M in 2012, 2013...but will it be there in 2014, 2015 and every year thereafter? We do not know, do we? 

Handing over Government discretionary financial assistance to the elderly, poor persons and households over the years have much to be desired...

(a) In one instance, for warga mas, people were asked to go to a particular dewan, wait for hours until the politician came and gave their speeches, and then they had to line up and sign as they received monies in brown envelopes - oddly, different people allegedly found differing amounts of monies. Was it race based? Or was it just like a 'lottery' where it all depended on luck? I had wondered why the envelopes did not have the names of the recipients, and there was no announcement about how much was in those envelopes? - Maybe all envelopes were meant to have the same amount, and some persons had been naughty and packeted some monies and that was the reason for the difference in sums received? Maybe some not entitled had taken the envelopes that were never claimed by the elderly? After all, was all those entitled aware of this 'financial assistance'? 

(b) Then on another occassion, they started giving 'vouchers' and again the name of the recipient was not printed on the said vouchers, and after receiving the vouchers, the recipients were to go to designated banks to exchange the vouchers for cash.. [Again, what was there from preventing those not entitled getting these vouchers and cashing out for cash..]

The best way of disbursing monies would be by the issuance of cheques in the name of the beneficiaries, or directly banking it into their bank accounts - this would ensure less 'leakages' and ensure that all those entitled would get the monies.


Well, Najib and his government failed to even ensure that all workers in Malaysia are already enjoying the benefit of mininimum wages  of RM900 per month. There are still many who are not enjoying this right, as this government has granted extension of time for employers to pay workers, some until the end of 2013 - maybe even then not, if further extensions are granted. Now, what has happened is that many workers have also lost existing benefits like loss of certain allowances like 'night shift allowances' etc, as employers restructured worker remuneration packages, something that this government should never have allowed, as minimum wages were meant to only increase basic wages to the new rate. 

Poverty Line Income - what is it today? How much would a Malaysian need for himself and his family/dependents to live a decent life? Everything has gone up - even for TV, now we have to pay a minimum monthly payment of RM32 for ASTRO. In Thailand, for the usual channels like RTM1 and RTM 2, and some other channels subscribers pay no monthly charges - only the one of charges for the instalation of the satellite, etc - but in Malaysia, even to watch government channels, we have to pay. If a minimum meal cost is RM4 (which is difficult to find), then the cost of meals only for an household of 4 having 3 meals a day is RM4 X 3 X 4 X 30 = RM1,440,and if they only had 2 meals a day, then it would be RM960 and that too is higher than Malaysia's average poverty line income. We know the poverty line income of 2009, but what is the poverty line income of 2013?
The Poverty Income Level (PLI) is defined as:

“An income that is necessary to buy a group of foods that would meet the nutritional needs of the members of a household. The income is also to meet other basic necessities such as clothing, rent, fuel and utilities, transport and communications, medical expenses, education and recreation.”

Plainly speaking, the PLI is how much money in a month a Malaysian household needs to meet these eight components.

Though the Government calculates different PLIs for Malaysia’s three regions, the total average PLI is RM800.

For this demonstration, Jayanath uses the Peninsula PLI of RM763.

A household living in the peninsula is considered poor only if its monthly income is below RM763. - Malaysian Insider, 21/7/2010, How poor are we, really?

Is Najib and his BN government, solving the problem of poverty in Malaysia, by simply fixing a 'very low poverty line income', and happily reporting that poverty in Malaysia is slowly being irradicated. We must demand to know what is the present 2013 Poverty Line Income, and also how is it calculated.

Indirectly, the Malaysian BN government has indicated the Poverty Line Income, i.e. RM3,000 for an household, and RM2,000 for a single unmarried individual, when these was the category that was listed as requiring financial assistance to survive - so why don't this government just admit and make this the new Poverty Line Income?

Each household with a monthly income of less than RM3,000 was eligible to receive a one-off payment of RM500 and the single unmarried individuals earning less than RM2,000 were eligible to receive RM250. New Straits Times, 1/1/2013, BR1M 2.0 to start next month
Would government discretionary handouts of RM500 and RM250 overcome the financial difficulties of the poor in Malaysia? I do not think so, as increases in cost of living just erases any benefit.

Fuel prices are up, and the government is talking about 'production cost' - what about transport cost? Is the price of commodities only going to increase by 0.1%? Our government has also shrunk the list of price controlled items over the years, chicken, eggs, rice, milk, etc are not in that list. Controlling prices for festive periods is not enough..Chicken, egg, bread must be a price controlled items - Why are our MPs not fighting for these basic issues that affect all Malaysians
TRADERS have been told not to raise food prices following the move to cut fuel subsidies, which is  unlikely to affect food production costs.Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek said the ministry's studies showed that the increase in fuel costs was projected to raise food prices by 0.1 per cent."We have done our best to ensure that any move to reduce subsidies would not unfairly burden traders. As such, we see no reason for them to mark up food prices as a result of the rise in fuel costs." - New Straits Times, 3/9/2013, 'Do not hike food prices'
Well, when it comes to petty traders, sundry shops and the small business people at the end of the supply chain, their cost would definitely increase with this increase of fuel prices - and naturally, they who are low-income or middle-income earners would naturally have to increase prices to ensure even SAME profits. The government has not helped them much, and the latest Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia(KR1M) and its products also have affected these small business persons. Why open new shops? Why did they not just make available cheaper products that could be marketted by these smaller shops and business persons?

IMPROVED CHEAP PUBLIC TRANSPORT is not in place, as an alternative to private vehicles, and this should have been so before FUEL prices are increased. No, this government is still trying to get ordinary people to BUY private vehicles and use more petrol... We desperately need to improve the public transport system so that people would have the choice to travel to work, to market, to hospiitals, to schools, etc using public transport - reducing the usage of privately owned vehicles - hence reducing FUEL consumption - hence reducing government subsidies...i.e. achieving the same effect.

No comments: