01 January 2014

Selamat datang 2014, tahun harga barang naik...

dari tumpang sekole

So, what costs are going up in 2014...

In a bid to to bring the country's deficit under control, the government has moved to cut subsidies on a number of essential items.

The government calls the move as "a necessary short-term pain" for sake of the country's long-term fiscal health.

However, these increases have created cascading effects, causing the prices of other good and services to increase as well because of the rising costs from the initial hikes.

To date, these are the items that have already increased in price:

1) RON 95 petrol – Increased from RM1.90 to RM2.10 per litre on Sept 3.

2) Diesel – Increased from RM1.80 to RM2.00 per litre on Sept 3.

3) Sugar – Increased from RM2.50 to RM2.84 per kg on Oct 25

For only three items, it isn't too bad. But what's going up next year?

1) Highway toll charges

The government has indicated that higher toll charges is a given, but has not given a deadline as it seeks to find a mechanism to minimise the impact.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Wahid Omar said the government needed to allow the increase to comply with its agreements with the highway concessionaires.

According to reports, the increases are expected to be between RM0.30 and RM1 and involve 13 highways.

2) Taxi, bus, train fares

The Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) has announced that it is considering an increase in the fares for the light rail transit (LRT) and Kereta Api Tanah Melayu services.

It's argument is that fares have not been increased for 10 years now, and added that any hike will only come in the second half of 2014.

Spad said it is also reviewing the taxi and bus fares, but the Johor Taxi Association had revealed, after its discussions with Spad, that the increase will come into effect in February.

The Union of School Bus Associations has also indicated that it may impose a 40 percent surcharge on bus fares beginning next year, citing diesel the price increase.

3) Electricity

From January 2014, electricity in peninsula Malaysia will cost 15 percent more, from RM33.54 to RM38.53 per kilowatt and 16.9 percent more in Sabah and Labuan, increasing from RM29.52 to RM34.52 per kilowatt.

4) Ice

If you need to tighten your purse, "milo ais kurang manis" isn't going to cut it, as the ice will also have to go. The industry cites rising cost from diesel and electricity hike.

The 26-member Tube Ice Manufacturers of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya announced that from January, a 50kg block of ice will cost about RM12.50 instead of RM10 and a 10kg bag of tube ice will cost about RM3.50, from RM3 now.

5) Stationery

The Federation of Stationers and Booksellers Association of Malaysia announced that stationeries are expected to see an increase in prices of between 20 and 30 percent by March. It cited increased costs from the fuel price hike.

6) Taxes

Klang Valley folks will have to fork out more money to their local government next year as the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) unveiled a revision of property valuation in the capital which will results in a hike in assessment rates.

Even though it has announced that the assessment rate for residential property will be reduced from 6 percent to 5 percent, the upward revision of valuation up to 300 percent will still see an overall increase of assessment fee.

Likewise, the Selangor government announced that business licence fees will go up, up to 400 percent effective next year.

7) Temperature

Yes, you heard right, from 21 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius to be exact.

The Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management called on its 400-odd members to set air-conditioning at 23 to 24 degrees Celsius from current temperatures of as low as 21 degrees Celsius.

It said the move is to counter the electricity tariff hike.
- malaysiakini

Newsmaker 2013 pilihan pembaca ialah...

Newsmaker ini dipilih mengikut takrif  'seseorang yang tindakannya menjadi tajuk berita, yang memberi kesan kepada wacana awam dan memberi impak kepada politik Malaysia, ke arah yang lebih baik atau lebih teruk lagi'.

Tahun ini, Malaysiakini menyenaraikan 12 individu bagi anugerah Newsmaker 2013 untuk dipilih oleh seramai 1,450 orang pelanggan berbayar portal berita ini.

Mereka mengundi dengan menunjukkan keutamaan mereka bagi setiap tokoh – satu markah untuk pilihan paling rendah dan 10 markah untuk pilihan paling tinggi.

Berdasarkan keputusan tinjauan ini, pembaca Malaysiakini pada tahun ini nampaknya memberi pengiktirafan kepada wanita paling kontroversi di Malaysia.

Dan pemenangnya ialah...
Newsmaker 2013 ialah Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, isteri kepada Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Pelbagai kontroversi menghimpit Rosmah selama beberapa tahun ini. Tapi apa yang menyebabkan beliau memenangi anugerah tahun ini – berbanding pencapaian di tangga ketujuh pada tahun lalu – mungkin kerana liputan mengenai lawatan beliau ke luar negara menggunakan jet peribadi dibiayai kerajaan.
1. Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (9,552 mata)

2.  Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (9,116)
3. Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (8,752)

4. Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil (7,842)
5. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (7,721)

6. Mohamad Sabu (7,380)
7. N Surendran (7,325)

8. Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (6,984)

9. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (6,678)

10. P Uthayakumar (5,750)

11. Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (5,393) 

 12. P Waythamoorthy (4,640)

2013 - GE13 takes centre stage...

The year under review, 2013, was a typical Malaysian year: it was full of excitement, zest for life, almost a comedy of errors and bursting at the seams with hope.

This, in a nutshell, could describe any other year in my lifetime in this country, once described as a land of milk and honey, but which carries a higher price tag these days.

Politically, given the fact that this hobby horse of some has a way of colouring life in the country, it was a year that appears to be an indicator of what looms on the horizon in future.

On the economic front, all appeared rosy but appearances, as they say, can be misleading.

Socially, as the internet wielded increasing influence on the lifestyle of the young, religion and culture put up a spirited defence of local values and norms.

The jury is still out on whether Malaysia will be swamped by so-called western values (how does one differentiate between them and local values, I wonder) as opposed to homegrown ones anchored on eastern culture and principles.

Back to politics, the political tsunami that swept the land in 2008 when Pakatan Rakyat (PR) took three states and made giant strides in several other states continued with the status quo maintained albeit with more seats in the bag for the motley crowd that the opposition coalition represented.

The May 5 elections saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) winning 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats while PR garnered 89 seats – an improvement over the 82 seats in 2008. But the icing on the cake for the BN was the winning back of Kedah from PR.

The Democratic Action Party (DAP) led the pack for the Opposition with 38 parliamentary seats (it had the giant's share of Chinese support) with a multi-racial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) close behind with 30 seats and Islamist PAS with 21 seats.

As for the BN, Umno came out of the hustings stronger with 88 seats while the MCA was relegated to a non-entity with a dismal seven seats and the MIC hanging on for dear life with four seats.

There was a clear line drawn among the electorate with Umno winning more Malay support than it did in 2008, PAS trying to hang on to lagging Malay support, Chinese deserting the MCA and Gerakan for the DAP and Indians still giving their votes by and large to the BN via the MIC.

It was a year when the BN and PR fought tooth and nail over policies with the BN harping on almost every decision made by the opposition state governments with PR doing much the same in BN turf.

Next year can be expected to see more of the same cat and dog relationship between the two coalitions as stances harden to become almost intractable.

It appears as if a true two-party political system is evolving but what 2014 will see is still left to conjecture as PR's tag of a coalition of strange bedfellows is put to the test in the months ahead.

Generally-speaking, the year began with a nation fraying at the edges as political parties on both sides of the divide geared up for a battle royale at the forthcoming polls.

But the unexpected happened on Feb 12 when armed militants from the Philippines invaded Lahad Datu in Sabah to begin a standoff that culminated with two Malaysian policemen killed and three others injured.

Fourteen invaders were killed in the encounter which shocked Malaysians who never thought that such a battle would be brought to our shores.

On March 3, Ops Daulat was launched with casualties on the part of the Sulu's and a Malaysian soldier killed in action.

Fast forward to June and the haze reappeared with a vengeance to cloud the nation in a pall of acrid smoke from Indonesia with complicity by some in the peninsular.

Schools closed, offices saw diminishing number of staff at work and masks were the order of the day as the haze continued to bedevil Malaysians as it has for years with no respite in sight.

Quite coincidentally, July witnessed the banning of the shisha on religious and health grounds. To clear the air, there was no apparent link between this traditional style of Middle Eastern smoking and the haze.

The bizarre occurred on Aug 5 when 10 people tried to enter the Istana Negara grounds.

The horrific happened a little over a fortnight later when 37 people were killed and 16 injured in the worst road accident in Malaysia on the road down from Genting Highlands.

The nation mourned with the families of the victims, some of whom were foreigners with many asking searching questions about why such a crash should have occurred in Malaysia which boasts the best roads in the region, if not the world.

The announcing of the Education Blueprint in September caught Malaysian attention as many questioned the direction in which Malaysian education was heading.

Apace with this debate was that of the need to teach Science and Mathematics in English, a cause championed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Later the same month, the death of former communist supremo Chin Peng made the headlines with divergent views among Malaysian son whether his remains should be brought back to Malaysia.

The nays won the day with security forces put on alert to stop any attempt to bring in his ashes.

December has been a month of soul-searching and crystal ball gazing Malaysians as they collectively and warily look forward to a new year that appears to be filled with price hikes.

It is left to be seen whether this will pan out as contending views vie to be heard at all levels of Malaysian society.

What will 2014 be like? Only the future will tell.-theSundaily



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