While Malaysians are willing to continue supporting the government’s policy and work together in unity irrespective of race and religion for the country’s recovery, what about our politicians?
Finally we have entered a new phase in our ongoing battle against the virus following the relaxation of anti-virus rules from May 1.
While we still have around a thousand new cases reported each day, the number of deaths is down to single digit while very few are suffering severe illnesses from the virus.
This shows that we have somewhat emancipated ourselves from the scourge of the virus as we enter the endemic phase of the coronavirus.
Looking back at the efforts we have put in over the past two years, this success has not come by chance.
As His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong said on the occasion of his birthday, people holding very different political ideologies had worked together to support the government’s policy such that we are able to defeat the virus.
His Majesty also said we must now work together to draw up plans to encompass all economic sectors and aspects of life and stay united so that we can be back on the road of success as soon as possible after the pandemic in facing the turmoil and challenges lying ahead of us.
Indeed, we can only revive the country through concerted effort.
We must promote recovery across all economic sectors in the country so that Malaysians can restore their pre-pandemic lives to the fullest. We cannot conclude that the economy has recovered and life is already back to normal simply by looking at the millions of cars plying along our highways during the last weekend’s holiday.
As a matter of fact, we still have a very long way to go before us. Our GDP contracted by 5.1% in 2020, and expanded modestly by 3.1% last year, meaning we are still not yet back to the 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Our economy is projected to grow at 6% this year, probably higher next year. However, we need to have a comprehensive plan to spearhead the national infrastructure projects, create job opportunities for Malaysians, and implement industrial transformation in a bid to enhance our global competitiveness.
This is to ensure that our economy can be expedited in order to make up for the last two years lost to the virus.
But things are not always that upbeat, as runaway inflation may hamper the pace of our recovery.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has spawned a globalized inflationary pressure and acute material shortage. Sure enough Malaysia is not spared by this global phenomenon.
For instance, the government has forked out over RM30 billion for fuel subsidies over the past one year in order to keep prices within manageable levels. Other daily necessities such as animal feed, chemical fertilizers, flour, meat, seafood and vegetables have all become more expensive, exacerbated by a steady decline in the ringgit exchange rates.
Although our official inflation rate is put at between 2-3%, the inflation rate that most Malaysians feel is definitely much more than this.
Let’s take a look at the inflation rates of selected countries over the past two months. Countries like the US (8.3%), UK (9%), France (5.2%) and South Korea (4.8%) have all registered their highest levels in almost four decades, while neighboring Singapore’s CPI is expected to top 4% this month!
The latest wave of inflation has spread very swiftly from the West to Asia. Unlike the previous price hikes arising from steep fuel prices, this time it has spread “horizontally” from surging oil prices to everyday consumables, drastically squeezing the disposable incomes of households worldwide, including Malaysia whose currency has remained weak for some time now.
When will the latest wave of inflation end? US experts predict that it will go on for some time due to the global supply chain disruption as a consequence of the pandemic, complicated by the war in Europe that sends material prices through the roof and monetary tightening policies of central banks worldwide in an attempt to contain inflation.
What the government must do now is not to rush into an election but to sit down with opposition leaders to map out effective strategies to control goods prices in a bid to ease the burden of our M40 and B40 groups.
While Malaysians are willing to continue supporting the government’s policy and work together in unity irrespective of race and religion for the country’s recovery, what about our politicians? Can they spare a little more thought for the rakyat and not push the PM to dissolve the parliament to pave way for fresh elections?
Najib says this is the most favorable timing for BN and if we miss this opportunity, BN may not score the desired results in the election.
Najib aside, all political parties are also looking forward to the next election as if they have forgotten their responsibilities as wakil rakyat.