THE government needs to acknowledge that there is a silent economic crisis instead of blaming Malaysians and scoffing at their suffering, said Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong today.
He said the goods and services tax, the 30% depreciation of the ringgit since October 2014 and successive subsidy cuts had caused prices to go up.
“This is eating into people’s disposable income, hence, hurting domestic consumption,” Liew, who is also DAP’s political education director, said in a statement.
“This is happening at a time when wages are not going up because there has been no attempt to reduce the influx of unskilled foreign labour into the country, or government intervention to help industries move up the technological ladder.”
As such, he said, more and more Malaysians were seeking employment overseas.
He said this could be seen in the number of commuters who crossed the Causeway to Singapore for work daily, which has increased from 200,000 to 300,000 over the past four years.
“Many have chosen to work low-wage 3D (dirty, difficult and dangerous) jobs there. Malaysians have also been known to work illegally in the United Kingdom and Australia.”
He said the government did not understand the plight of ordinary Malaysians and brushed aside their grouses.
“Whenever concerns are raised, the immediate response is to blame the victims who complain.
“Last weekend, Najib Razak blasted those who criticise his GST policy. For him, the 6% regressive tax is good for Malaysia and no one should whine or complain about it.
“I am further stunned by claims made by Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who said, ‘If people are poor, I believe that they have made themselves poor. If they have arms and legs and can walk, they can survive in Malaysia’.
“Irwan said there was no reason that Malaysians should be poor because there were plenty of opportunities for them to be well-off.”
Liew argued that the government had at least acknowledged the 1985 and 1997 crises.
“But, the current government either sings its own praises or blames the victims , like Irwan did, when ordinary Malaysians are suffering.”