Friday, February 09, 2018

Rahman Dahlan’s dismissive attitude towards Malaysian’s inability to afford even daily groceries shows his blatant disregard for the issues of the average Malaysian.

Earlier this week, Mydin owner Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin had said that though the Goverment’s published GDP figures showed strong growth, consumers seemed to be spending less and less on grocery shopping. He suggested that Malaysians just did not seem to have the same amount of money to spend as before, even though the economy has been growing.

Mydin’s comments quickly drew responses from members of the Government, including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who was quick to defend the Government’s economic measures. He said that hypermarket sales only made up 8% of total retail sales, which had seen overall growth both in terms of volume and value. He further added that Malaysians did indeed have more money to spend as highlighted by increases in domestic tourist expenditures as well as tourist spending abroad.

Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan’s dismissive attitude towards Mydin’s claim shows just how out of touch the BN Government is from the daily struggles faced by average Malaysians. If even low-priced hypermarkets like Mydin are facing weakened consumer demand, where does the Minister expect Malaysians to be buying their everyday groceries? Does he think Malaysians are going abroad to do their groceries?

Last November, 5 Giant hypermarkets were shuttered by owners GCH Retail (Malaysia).The 2017 Malaysia Retail Industry Report, also noted that consumers were less likely to spend money in the past year owing to the increasing cost of living. The same report noted that hypermarket sales in general had shrunk 3.1% in the first 3 quarters of 2017.

Accordingly, Malaysian consumers were found to be more frugal and judicious with their spending opting to make smaller purchases at different stores to make the most out of the various discount and offers provided by different stores.

All the above information is consistent with the Government’s own statistics. Inflation last year was the highest we’ve seen in years, averaging 3.7%. In particular, food and non-alcoholic beverages saw an increase of 4% over the past year. Regardless of whether someone is shopping in a hypermarket or a pasar tani, these price increases are present everywhere.

The Government should not be flaunting the spending statistics of Malaysians who can afford to travel abroad as proof that all Malaysians are better. Worse, they should not be dismissing the very real and loud complains of average Malaysians who struggle to even afford their daily groceries.

If the BN Government has no sympathy or empathy for the ordinary men on the street, it is time for them to get the boot.  Malaysians deserves a government that looks out for the interest of all Malaysians and does not dismiss the real issues being faced everyday.

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