PETALING JAYA: A deputy minister’s suggestion that Malaysians take on two jobs to cope with rising costs has led to a lot of indignation, with reactions ranging from incredulity to comical.
Fellow Umno MP and Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad was one of those who pooh-poohed International Trade and Industry Ministry deputy minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s idea.
The move would impact the welfare of the families, Shahrir was quoted as saying in a news portal.
Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said ministers should find solutions to help the rakyat, not make suggestions that would further burden them.
“A minister should be someone who is level-headed, wise and competent in solving the problems of the rakyat and the country,” he wrote on Facebook.
“If a wise mind and competency is not required to become a minister, then what is so special about the post that they receive a salary and various special privileges?” he said without naming anyone.
Ahmad was first quoted on Astro Awani on Saturday as saying: “I think it’s not wrong (to have two jobs) though we have regulations, but it is still one way to address the rising cost of living.
“Malaysians could start an online business for extra income,” he said at a function with Johor entrepreneurs.
Comedian Harith Iskander turned it into a joke. “I’m a comedian, emcee, writer, coach, actor. I don’t have five jobs. I do five different things. A job takes up the whole day,” he wrote on Twitter.
Schoolbus driver Premala was taken aback by the suggestion.
“Driving children to school in the morning, taking them home and then doing the rounds for afternoon school besides taking care of my children takes a lot out of me. I am exhausted every day,” she said.
“Even when people offered me a second job to drive students to an international school, I said no. I would be rushing around and putting the lives of the children in danger.”
MTUC secretary general N. Gopal Krishnam also said the idea of two jobs was not constructive as it would affect personal and family life.
“Research has shown that having two jobs will lead to a negative impact on health and productivity,” he said, adding that this could lead to social problems in the long run.
“The Government should rethink its approaches to ensure workers have enough income to support themselves and their families,” he said in a statement.
Ahmad took to Twitter to explain himself, saying that Astro Awani’s headline “Government encourages working two jobs” was inaccurate.
“I said the ministry encourages online businesses as a means to raise income. It is the latest business trend.
“I have three jobs: MP, deputy minister, Umno information chief. Many people in Malaysia have two jobs. Work hard to earn an honest living,” he tweeted, which prompted Harith’s retort.