Dear Sheila Majid,
Food prices – especially fish and vegetables – go up and down according to the season. Right now, it is the monsoon season and prices will be high. When monsoon season is over, prices will go back down.
Prices of rice, cooking oil, sugar, cooking gas, chicken are all regulated so price have not changed much.
In fact since the height of your popularity in the 1990s, our median household income has increased substantially. It was just RM1,704 in 1999 but last year it was RM5,228. While petrol price have doubled to RM2.30, our income has tripled.
Yes, prices have risen but so has our income. By and large, the average Malaysians have a better quality of life and standard of living compared to the 1990s.
As for currency, we were at RM3.80 to the USD for 7 years when Mahathir pegged it in 1998. After it was unpegged it stayed around that level for some time too.
Now it is RM4.06 – or 6.8% weaker compared to RM3.80.
Our current unemployment rate is 3.4% – hardly an indication that jobs are scarce. 4% is usually the level that economist call as full employment as there will always be people in-between jobs or just entering the market place.
Also, the fact that there are millions of migrant workers means that jobs are hardly scarce as Malaysians simply do not want to take up these jobs.
There have been cases of migrant workers who can get monthly pay of RM4,000 or above – after they had worked hard and got overtime pay.
Malaysians are blessed that we can select what type of jobs we have.
Right now if you open up Jobstreet, you will find that there are 26,356 vacancies in Malaysia.
Manufacturing plants are booming right now and exports have surged. There are many jobs available.
it is inaccurate to say jobs are scarce.
Our economic growth right now is 6.2% for the last quarter. It is easily among the top in the region, if not the world.
Tourism is also booming with double-digit increases. If you go to KLIA or KLIA2, you will find it is packed. Not just for foreign tourists coming in but for Malaysians traveling overseas for their holidays.
It is also strange that when you were at your peak of popularity in the 1990s, you did not speak up against Mahathir when our currency suddenly collapsed 60% from RM2.40 to RM3.80, our unemployment soared when tens of thousands were laid off while companies were collapsing all around.
Yes, you were silent then.
While we should not find fault or give excuses and fix the country, we should not also get influenced by the propaganda and make statements that are not fully correct.
We should have a positive mindset – not otherwise.
It is lucky that we are now in the more open and tolerant PM Najib era. If you pulled this sort of stunt during the 1990s under Mahathir, you will receive the M.Nasir treatment where the govt issues a public directive to freeze yo out.
I believe our country is currently on the correct track with strengthening economy, exchange rates and virtually full employment.
This is not 1998 anymore.
Lim Sian See