Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rising Cost of Living

I was interviewed for a story on The Star Metro, published today on the rising cost of living for city dwellers. Below are my comments and excerpts from the article.  What do you think?

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua highlighted a three-cornered situation that many Malaysian urbanites were trapped in – stagnating income, increasing cost and weak infrastructure.

He observed that a fresh graduate today commanded nearly the same pay as a graduate more than 10 years ago, in their respective professions, and there had been no increase in productivity among Malaysian workers during the past 20 years.

“While our income has to a large extent stagnated, the cost of living has increased at a rapid pace, partly due to increasing cost and shifting necessities.

“Ten years ago, a handphone and a computer would not have been regarded as a necessity but it’s something any worker cannot do without today. Hence, the burdens of a typical Malaysian worker has increased,” he said.

The situation is further compounded by weak infrastructure, he said.

“The reality is that city dwellers have no choice but to use private vehicles for travel because public transportation is unreliable, unavailable in many highly dense districts and of poor quality,” he said, citing car ownership ratio in Klang Valley is 99:100 (2002), compared to 10:100 in Singapore (2004).

“Hence, Malaysian urbanites face greater financial stress than their comparable Singaporean counterparts because the proportion of disposable income is substantially lower,” he added.
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