Monday, June 30, 2008

High inflation rate accelerated the M-shape society formation

During the parliament meeting on 23 June 2008, when answering a question from Tan Sri Dato’ Abd. Khalid (Member of Parliament for Bandar Tun Razak) regarding the hiking price in petrol, food and other commodities, our Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz stated that if we move the poor line condition (paras garis kemiskinan, PGK) from the current RM800 to RM1,500 (which reflects the actual situation more accurately), the national poverty rate in Malaysia will rise tremendously from the current 3.7% to 24.3%. He also mentioned that the government has risen the definition of low income group for those with monthly income less than RM2,000 now.

Frankly speaking, living is really very difficult for Malaysian family with household income below RM1,500 nowadays. Even those with income below RM3,000 can sense their situation as "new poor" in the M-shape society. Data from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) as revealed by Datuk Amirsham above indicates that at least a quarter of the Malaysian family has fallen into the poor now.

If this critical situation is not tackled promptly and effectively, we can foresee an increase in crime rate and potential social instability that might risking to possible violent actions, which has already happened in certain regions on the globe now. We hope that our government, the ASEAN, UNESCAP, and all other international bodies can look into the situation seriously and come out with workable remedy plans to ease this globally affected economic condition before it worsen further.

Meanwhile, for us as citizen living in this hard time, we have to strive in finding our ways from falling below the poverty benchmark. As the inflation is fast moving, saving alone is not sufficient, we have to increase our income level to fight the rising poverty line, that might gone up to RM4,000 if the petroleum price climbs up to the scary US$200 per barrel. (I hope this will never happen, at least not in the near future.)

By the way, if you are interested to read about the debate in Malaysia parliament meeting on 23 June 2008, especially Page 6, you can click here to download the official statement document.


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