‘The focus must be on cost of living’


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 20 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: The government should focus its energy on issues affecting the cost of living rather than devoting time to gutter politics, say consumer and youth groups.

Malaysian Youth Council president Jufitri Joha said the younger generation is “bored and uninterested” with all the immature and obscene politicking in the country.

“We urge the government to be serious about the cost of living issues,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Jufitri said young people are in dire need of government support as they are also stressed with the economic situation of the country.

“With the government allowing 18-year-olds to vote, we hope there will be more young people who will choose good political parties.

“At the same time, we are hoping there will be a new party to represent the young people to bring about fresh and mature politics, instead of all this uninteresting, boring, old politics,” said Jufitri, who added that the media too needed to play their part by featuring edifying news that focuses on how to build up the nation.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan concurred that there was too much politicking, which resulted in essential work for the nation being neglected.

“(Cost of living issues) should be the priority. I think maybe the intention is good but the implementation needs to be done as quickly as possible.

“I think politicians need to instil confidence so that the people can expect change.

“Like the issue of tolls, we know that the promise is to do away with them.

“While we know some things cannot be done that easily, the government can perhaps give subsidies for the needy, like exempting the B40 groups from tolls,” he said.

Nadzim also lamented at how most vegetables were being imported from Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam, adding that not much was being done to increase local productivity.

“Everybody is busy politicking, including those from the former government. But at the end of the day, what we need to do is to be sure that the people benefit from lower prices on consumer goods, for example,” he said.

However, Wong Chin Huat, a senior fellow at the Sunway University’s Jeffery Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, said Malaysia needs deeper democratisation in two broad directions so that the focus can move on to bread and butter issues.

“First, deconcentration of power so that ambitious politicians don’t mobilise all their resources to conquer one single office.

“Second, change of electoral system to encourage non-communal divides on issues like inclusive growth and sustainable development,” he said.

Wong, who noted that as long as people compete for power, politicking is inevitable in any country, be it in a democracy or autocracy.

He added that anyone who longs for a return of authoritarianism or strongman politics will be disappointed ultimately.

“From Chinese and Ottoman imperial courts to modern North Korea, politicking in the absence of democracy has led to more brutal and destructive outcomes.”


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