I strongly believe that the recent petrol hike is just the beginning of many more painful measures going to be introduced by the government.
GST is coming. That will add a few percentage points to goods and services, making things more costly.
From what i gather, healthcare transformation is on the way too. It is just a matter of time that doctors would not be able to dispense medicine. Patients would have to see a doctor, get a prescription and have it filled at a pharmacy. This means higher treatment charge, which will be paid via a national healthcare fund.
There is also rumour that 1Care (the name may be changed since 1Malaysia is no longer the trending slogan) will be introduced. Under that , doctors will be allocated to patients, and each person above certain income level will have to pay monthly or yearly premium into a national fund which will reimburse the doctors and selected pharmacies for treatment charges. Any wonder that a big pharmacy chain is now on a acquisition drive to acquire stand-alone pharmacies in preparation of this .
All these measures will be used to reduce federal deficits and the savings will enable government to have more money to spend on projects– in the Malaysian context, maybe more leakage and wastage to make everyone with good connections happy.
Ordinary people will have to rationalise their spending habits, buy only the essentials, plan their trips, tighten the belts until it can no longer be tightened. In a nutshell, we have to be prepared to downgrade our lifestyle.
Will salary for ordinary people go up? It depends how many illegals are caught and deported. These illegals have filled many of the job vacancies, and as a result, salary level for locals have not gone up much, despite cost of living escalating higher and higher.
With more development projects, the rich is going to become richer, and land prices will probably go up and up, and owning a home is going to be more and more difficult.
For the well connected, there will indeed be “Endless possibilities”. For the politicians, urbanites are no longer important as long as they can get support from the rural areas, as witnessed in the just concluded GE.
For the ordinary in urban and suburban areas, life will be more painful. These are why I have written that harder times are ahead of us in my last article.
I guess we may have to just swallow more painkillers!