Friday, May 16, 2014

Quality of Life vs High GDP

I was very attracted by Cina'a policy of putting the pursuit of a high GDP in the back seat in preference for improving the Quality of life. See pic as reported in the NST. It sets me into thinking that Malaysia should follow this example because the pursuit of a high GDP and income Per Capita seem to have dominated the thinking of the government in the interest of achieving a developed nation status by 2020,less than 6 years away.
a commendable policy
Meanwhile so many problems affecting the quality of life of the people have emerged. The most predominant concern is the escalation of prices for popular food at food stalls and restaurants, increase in the price of essential consumer goods such as rice, sugar, fish, vegetables etc, the sudden increase in evaluation rates for land in urban areas now considered as industrial while it carries an agricultural status before and is still undeveloped, the sky rocketing prices of modern houses both in the urban and rural areas, the increase in charges for electricity and water, increase in toll rates etc.
eating place for the average Malaysians
The overall impact of these increases seem to far outweigh the relief that people get through some increase in wages, reduction in taxes, and the BRIM handouts.You can never get s good meal for the family at the restaurants anymore for less than RM50. Don't try the exclusive ones if you have less than a few hundreds. Even a good breakfast at a roadside stall for one person might cost you no less less than RM10. Evaluation rate for an acre of land can go up to RM12,000 whereas before it was only a few hundreds. A semi-D house can now cost more than RM800k while a terrace house can cost some RM300k. Soon, only the rich businessmen can stay in the cities and town areas….
many places don't have the facility
Cost control, and for that matter Quality control for both consumer goods, services and housing facilities seem to have been neglected or just not effective enough. Cracks in new building and homes, power failures, water shortages, etc had become a common heartache. Although there has been some improvement of late in the cleanliness of the urban and town ares, there are still a lot of rubbish lying around, especially in areas where 'pasar malam" (nigh markets are dele. The Authorities alone are not to be blamed for we still see people throwing rubbish and smelly refuse on the road from their cars. This makes me question whether some Malaysians are still not civilised enough to become citizens of a developed nation, even by 2020.

The quality of life in the modern sectors of Malaysia can certainly be called developed even now. Except, of course, for the slump areas. But some services still fail to make the grade. Facilities for the old timers and handicapped people to move around in wheelchairs are sadly lacking, few trashcans can be seen by the corridors of shophouses and on roadsides to enable people to learn throwing rubbish where it belongs. The smell at eateries and open air restaurants can sometime hurt the olfactory.

Quality of life is certainly not determined by income alone, both at the national and personal level. It depends a lot on the quality of goods and services given by the providers. When the price goes up and the quality comes down, it means a downgrading of life, even if the nation and the rich are rolling in money. What differentiates a developed country from an underdeveloped one is the quality of goods and services that citizens of the former enjoy and what citizens of the latter are deprived of.

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