For many Malaysians, the recent price hikes on fuel and cooking oil mean further strains on their already stretched out pockets
Yesterday, 1 November, higher prices for fuel and cooking oil came into effect, with diesel at its priciest in 2016 while cooking oil prices are priced up to 60% more for the first time in 10 years.
Despite assurances from PM Najib Razak and other ministers that these price hikes are for the good of the Malaysian economy, it's bad news for those who are already struggling to make ends meet.
In an open letter to Najib that has gone viral since it was posted yesterday, lecturer Ashley Greig penned a last-ditch plea to the Prime Minister beseeching him to put the rakyat's needs first. She wrote:
"Dear Mr. Najib Razak,
I'm doing this on behalf of my family, friends and the rest of the rakyat; all of whom have no other way of voicing out pleas that fall on nothing but deaf ears and stone cold hearts.
Today, you decided on an increase on the price of fuel and cooking oil. Today, you decided on going ahead with your plans of increasing the cost of basic necessities for living. Today, you decided to bring upon suffering to people who are helpless and have nowhere to turn to."
"Today, we woke up to news that our income will need to be stretched further when it's already on the verge of snapping."
"Today, we woke up to news that we may need to eat plain porridge and cheap fried anchovies more often, because we simply cannot afford anything else anymore.
Today, we woke up to news that we will be falling sick more often and even risk premature death due to heart attacks and strokes because we will be forced to have less rest and work longer hours to make more money to survive on a day-to-day basis."
"However, Mr. Prime Minister. However.
You speak from the point of view of someone who doesn't need to starve just so his child could have something to eat."
"You speak from the point of view of someone who doesn't need to think if he has enough money to go to work the next day, and the days after.
You speak from the point of view of someone who doesn't need to worry about paying his backdated monthly bills with money he doesn't even have."
"So don't lecture us about how we're being silly or petty about slight changes in price of daily needs."
"You're privileged enough to be able to wear Armani coats and buy your wife Gucci handbags, and never needing to worry about what you are able to afford to have for dinner."
Try being in our shoes for once, and perhaps you might see where we're coming from.
Try being human, and understand the pain you're putting us through every day.
A despondent, powerless young adult struggling to make ends meet.
The post above is written by Ashley Greig and republished with permission from the author.
As the price hikes came into effect, a minister claims that the increase would've been much more if not for Najib:
On the other hand, it appears that packaged cooking oil might be cheaper than bottled ones even after the subsidy reductions: