SHAH ALAM, 10 Jan: Although the rate of economic growth in Malaysia is still growing, the increasing debt of the Federal Government has caused the people to be stressed with the steep increase in cost of living.
The increase in cost of living is due to the government cutting various programmes such as subsidies for petrol, other essential items and the introduction of new taxes such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Strategy Director, Rafizi Ramli, said that what makes matters worse is the increase in cost of living is not consistent with the slow rate of salary increases, when in the period of five years, the rate of salary increase in this country is only about two percent compared to the 10 percent in Indonesia for the same period of time.
“If we look at Singapore, the economic rate is growing well, they salaries increase. If we look at Indonesia, the 10 percent of wage increase over the past five years compared to our 2.6 percent means that salary in Indonesia increases five times faster than ours.
“When we look at the economic development of people in other countries where salaries have increased, the price of goods does not increase much and significantly. The quality of life increases. Services such as schools and so on become better. But in Malaysia, it has declined.
“Not just in Southeast Asia, but also other countries around the world, where the resources and wealth is about the same as Malaysia, the situation is better. This trend is very troubling,” said Rafizi in an exclusive interview with Selangor Kini at the Centre for Democracy Reformation and Social Initiatives in Puchong recently.
On 25 November last year, the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, said in Parliament that national debt has increased to RM529.6 billion or 53.6 percent compared to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as of the end of September, is approaching 55 percent of the authorised debt ceiling.
Prior to that, when the people were told that the economy is doing will, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, said that the country would face bankruptcy in 2019.
The economic analyst institution, Research For Social Advancement (REFSA), also warned that Malaysia would face bankruptcy if the national debt reached RM1 trillion and according to projections, the country will go bankrupt in 2019, with the national debt amounting to RM1.16 trillion.
Weaknesses in managing the economy and the national debt, which is increasing to a point that the government has presented a deficit budget for 16 consecutive years, has created in large part the perception that the country will face bankruptcy.