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Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 8:53:42 AM
by chan li leen
Tough times: Chong finds it hard to make ends meet even before the tariff hike.
AT just 20, Chong Lai Yoong cannot envision what her future will be like.
Earning a meagre salary as a bakery assistant, the Ipoh lass lamented that she was already finding it hard to survive, what more with the power tariff hike come next year.
“It is definitely going to be a heavier burden for the poor and middle-income groups as higher energy cost means more expensive goods and services.
“Also, our salaries are not increasing,” said Chong, who gives part of her salary to her family to help make ends meet.
On Monday, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry had announced a 4.99 sen per kWh (14.89%) increase in the average power tariff in peninsular Malaysia and 5 sen/kWh (16.9%) in Sabah and Labuan effective Jan 1.
However, there will be no increase imposed on consumers who use electricity at a rate of, or lower than, 300kWh a month.
Chong said she was planning on taking on a second job in order to make ends meet but decided against it after weighing the pros and cons.
“As I do not own a car, it is quite dangerous to take public transportation at night. Also, I would be too tired with two jobs and my health may suffer,” she said.
Chong said she could not even afford to pay for driving lessons to get a licence presently, let alone buy a car.
Chong reflected that while life was already so hard for a single girl like herself, it would definitely be harder for those married and with children.
“My friend and her husband are surviving on a single income after she quit her job to take care of their toddler.
“This came about after her mother-in-law passed away and they could not afford a babysitter.
“ They have no choice but to make do with a single income.
“But I can tell that life is very hard because after paying for the house, car and other expenses, not much is left,” said Chong.
Housewife A. Vijay, 47, describes the move by Tenaga Nasional Bhd to raise the power tariff as utter nonsense.
“Manufacturers will also feel the pinch and have to increase their prices.
“In the end, it is the consumers who will have to pay.
“First it was the increase in fuel prices, then sugar. Now, power rates are going up,” she said angrily.
Trader Safitry Wardaan, 38, agreed that the recent increase in fuel and sugar prices, and imminent increase in power tariff, would cause the people more hardship.
“Except for the rich, life is going to be very hard for the lower income group, who are already struggling to put food on the table,” she said.
Father of two, T. Shashi, 36, is worried about his children’s future.
“The cost of life is going up day by day. We are so focused on coping with that we cannot plan for what is to come.
“I’m sure like me, most parents are wondering how they can give their children a good future under the circumstances.
“It is almost impossible to save for our children’s education when most of our earnings are spent every month,” he said.
Shashi added that there was also the concern about having enough money to live on when old.
“If it is nearly impossible to survive now, what is going to happen to couples when they grow old and no longer have fixed incomes?” he asked.
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Northern Region, Family & Community, consumers
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