Professionals feel the pain too

KLANG: Never one to spend lavishly, veterinarian Dr Boo Biing Jye is able to make ends meet but has yet to buy his own home.

The father of a child aged two-and-a-half years said he and his teacher wife can manage their expenses because they still live with his parents.

“So it’s not that difficult for us, but it’s not easy for us to buy our own home due to the very high property prices,’’ said the 30-year-old Dr Boo, who works at a veterinary clinic here.

However, under the current circumstances, he does not even think of buying his own home.

Dr Boo said he and his family also limit the number of holidays they take.

“We only travel domestically and do not take overseas holidays,” he added.

Dr Boo: ‘We only travel domestically and do not take overseas holidays.’Dr Boo: ‘We only travel domestically and do not take overseas holidays.’

Dr Boo is among the many mid-career and middle-income young professionals who are currently trapped by rising inflation and the escalating cost of living.

Unlike their peers in the 1990s and perhaps right up until about 2010, who could buy homes easily due to lower property prices and flexible loan terms offered by banks, owning a nice, comfortable home these days for mid-career professionals remains a distant dream.

Not belonging to the lower-income group, which receives various government aid and subsidies, nor belonging to the higher-income group, which has more money to spend, people like Dr Boo face a long and winding road paved with various financial roadblocks.

For Dr R. Venothini, 36, who works at a government health clinic, low wages and slow yearly salary increments make it difficult for them to manage the family expenses.

“I started working in 2011 and only managed to buy a condominium this year, and I’ll be paying for it for the next 30 years,’’ said the mother of a six-year-old boy.

She said it’s difficult at times for her and her husband, who is also a physician, to make ends meet because of their limited wages as government doctors.

Dr Venothini said the biggest challenge she faces is the high cost of therapy for her special needs child.

“It used to cost us RM3,000 a month, but I have brought it down to RM2,000.

Dr Venothini: ‘I started working in 2011 and only managed to buy a condominium this year.’Dr Venothini: ‘I started working in 2011 and only managed to buy a condominium this year.’

“I just hope the government will look into making the cost of special needs therapy more affordable,’’ she said.

For single people in the middle-income salary range, they too face many challenges due to the high cost of living and growing inflation.

And their problems may not just revolve around housing and other regular needs.

Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer Dr Mastura Mahamed, 37, who is living with cerebral palsy, said she spends some RM60,000 annually on the various therapies she requires.

“To make matters worse, the supplements and equipment I need are all imported, and the high taxes make them expensive,” she said.

As an example, Dr Mastura, who lives on her own, said she uses custom-made crutches, which are made with fully imported materials.

Poh: ‘The other day I had a tosai, a plate of chicken varuval, and a drink, and it cost me RM20.’Poh: ‘The other day I had a tosai, a plate of chicken varuval, and a drink, and it cost me RM20.’

She added that most of her wages go towards paying for her necessities.

“I just hope the taxes will be lowered for these items,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, impresario Francis Poh said owning a house is not something that is achievable for him at the moment.

The 40-year-old singleton living with his family said income in the entertainment industry is inconsistent and unpredictable as people and businesses cut back on their spending.

The biggest bane for him currently is the high cost of food essentials, Poh said, adding that he hardly eats out and usually cooks at home.

“The other day I had a tosai, a plate of chicken varuval (chicken in dry curry), and a drink, and it cost me RM20.

“But buying things to cook can be costly too,’’ he said.

He hopes there will be some control over the prices of all essential foodstuff so that the high cost of living and ballooning inflation will at least be a little more manageable.

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