KUALA LUMPUR: At the stroke of midnight, Malaysians will usher in 2016 with the hope of seeing better days ahead after the challenges the country faced in the past 12 months.
On the economic front, 2015 saw low oil prices, the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax, the weakening of the ringgit and a slowing Chinese economy hitting Malaysians in their pockets.
Malaysians surveyed by The Star said rising prices were their biggest problem in 2015.
Many are hoping that there won’t be many more price hikes next year and that the Government will step in to help tackle the increasing cost of living.
Better public transportation is another wish for 2016 after a year that saw hikes in toll rates, taxi and public transport fares.
A number of car manufacturers are set to increase prices in 2016, but the completion of three LRT and MRT projects will hopefully provide some respite to Klang Valley residents and reduce the need for cars.
Another big issue is access to affordable housing and many are hoping that 2016 will see the Government stepping on the gas pedal to bring in more measures to make housing more accessible to low- and medium-income earners.
On the political front, the biggest political event of 2016 will be the Sarawak state election, a litmus test for the state Barisan Nasional led by Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
The outcome will not only indicate political sentiments in Sarawak but show the extent to which the Barisan coalition can depend on its traditional “fixed deposit” state come the next general election that is due by 2018.
With this year featuring many ugly political fights and quarrels over race and religion, many are hoping that 2016 will see a more peaceful and united Malaysia.
With sports often cited as a unifying factor, 2016 will have good news.
Two key international sporting events – namely the Euro 2016 football tournament in June and the Olympic Games in August – will have the fans cheering.
At least, we can be sure there will be some cheer.
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