Monday, July 1, 2013

Blue Sky and Sunshine Again.

After a week or so of thick haze and gloominess, the API reaching a hazardous level when people have to wear masks, we are happy to see blue sky and sunshine again. The cloud seeding efforts to produce rain undertaken by Indonesia and Malaysia (?) to wash away the haze seemed to have worked. Congratulations to the Authorities concerned. The arguments and damage done by the spell of gloominess and haziness can now be forgotten and the culprits who understood the open burning in Sumatra can be forgotten. Until it happens again....

The attitude 'let things be until people start to complain and scream..' seems to become a habit with us in Malaysia. Yes it's good way of getting things done with maximum impact. If things are done before people cry out for action, they never notice the action taken, accepting things for granted. After things hit them in the nose, then any quick action to stop it will be met with applause. It's a simple children psychology. Give them only those that they have begged and screamed for to make them really happy. And also give them a little at a time. Give them too much and you spoil them.

The haze has been happily done away with. Now how about the water woe? This has become a prolonged malady because, at least in Selangor,the blame can be shifted elsewhere. Solving the problem quickly will bring an applause for the wrong party. This is another strategy to bring an enemy to terms, even if thousands must suffer the consequences. It'a sad that public convenience must be traded to gain political mileage, but as Shakespeare said, "Everything is fair and foul in love and war." Enemies don't cooperate until the very foundation of a nation starts to shake. The fear is, nothing can be done to save the situation, when the pillars of trust and confidence begin to crumble. Let's hope that that doesn't happen just because of the water woe...the drinkable water tanks running dry because of dispute in ownership and control. Even in the Arab countries the days are gone when the tribe who owns the water well owns the land around it.

There certainly are many other things that need to be reviewed in this country. The cost of things - everything from the supply of modern equipment to the price of a loaf of bread - needs to be reviewed if the status of a high income nation and providing a higher income level for the Malaysians are to mean anything at all. Every time a mega project is launched or a huge purchase of modern equipment or weaponry from a foreign country is made,the deal is fraught with doubts in respect of it's cost and transparency. One can always hear of a possibly cheaper cost and better quality. The same may be said of building and construction costs. The overheads seem to be just ludicrous but no one can prove anything. Even the Auditor-General would not be able to suggest a more acceptable costing or cost standard beside commenting on the overblown expenditure for certain purchases.

What the public can actually feel to be the result of uncontrolled or unchecked pricing, is the rising costs of household goods and consumer itsms. The price of the so-called controlled items such as rice, beef, chicken etc may be quite understandable though still arguable. But the vegees, the chills, the onions, the fish including salted ones like 'ikan bills' have more than doubled in prices. I was amazed to see the price of bread, before selling at a ringgit plus per loaf, now going up to three ringgit or more. A box of self-raising cake flour and a small round box of margarine costed me nearly forty ringgit. Oh, my God, I thought. I might as well just buy a ready made cake at that price, although just a slice of cheese cake at a reputed restaurant can cost up to ten ringgit. Imagine what a RM100 increase in salary per year means too a worker. Just ten additional slices of cheese cake,and your earned that increase after a year of hard work.

Prices of consumer goods and food items in the market must certainly undergo certain form of checks and control. When RM50 is not enough to buy food items for the kitchen to feed a family of four for one day, an earning of less than RM3000 a month is really living in a state of near poverty.NST's Report on July 7 p.4

No comments: