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BR1M brings misery

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The joy of receiving RM500 has been fleeting. Now, the coffee shops, market traders, hawkers and food courts have all increased their prices, and the pain will not go away, observes P Ramakrishnan.

Momentary joy
Momentary joy

The Barisan Nasional is feeding opium to the people through BR1M. The people then become deluded into believing that a lot of money is being given out. Indeed they feel elated and happy clutching the RM500 that is dished out to them.

At that moment – after waiting in long queues and sweating in an uncomfortable environment – when they finally receive the RM500, they feel that they are suddenly rich. For the poor people this has a big impact.

But what is the consequence of this hand-out? Unfortunately, this is what the people don’t seem to realise. Their momentary joy has clouded the long term effect that is felt by every Malaysian.

Have you noticed that things have suddenly shot up in price?! The coffee shops have increased their prices – all the prices of drinks have gone up. The cost of food at hawker stalls and food courts have gone up. Every food item costs more now. The goods in the market – vegetables, fish, meat, fruit etc – and every item in the grocery shops have all suddenly gone up in price.

On a daily basis, we spend more now than we did before BRIM was introduced. And you feel this hardship everyday throughout the year. In no time the BR1M RM500 has disappeared and you have to bear this extra burden of costly things triggered by BR1M!

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The BN has no notion as to how to help the people – especially the poor. By doling out on a one-off basis, it doesn’t solve their problem. This dole does not stretch long enough to sustain them or make their daily living any easier. In fact it has added to their misery and they suffer more.

If, on the other hand, the government takes steps to keep prices down, that would be a great relief. The government must contain the prices of essential foodstuffs. The basic food must be made affordable and within the reach of the poor. The spiralling cost of living must be addressed seriously and effectively.

Surely, the government must have by now realised that whenever salaries go up or allowances are declared, there is a price to pay. The prices of goods escalate. This escalation only enriches the suppliers and shopkeepers and makes it difficult for poor people to make ends meet.

Instead of bribing people with their money, the government must be sensible enough to control prices. In this way they may be able to help the people more meaningfully. This may be better appreciated and better served.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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