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Economic Education

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Category: My Life
Published Date Written by Jason Loo

chalk

I am sure many of you would have noticed the news of the past 2 weeks on the rise of prices of electricity and sugar. Also, a lot of restaurants and eateries have pledged not to raise their prices.

However, I also found out that producers of certain products have also started to reduce the contents of their products while charging at the same price. Noted this products are not controlled price  items and the producer is free to charge whatever they like.

For example, a popular chocolate malt packet drink was reduced from the standard 250ml to 200ml packet. Price was advertised to be the  same but I have not seen any announcement made on the reduction of the contents.

My advise to all consumers from now on is to re-evaluate the usual products that you are buying and ensure that the contents have not been reduced but sold at the same price. Examples might be  cooking oils, canned products, bottled drinks etc.

Recently returning from a teambuilding course, I found out an interesting fact from the trainer who gave me a rather useful tip.

According to him, he trained his son to read from the various brochures that the hypermarkets frequently send out to customers. He explained to me (who's proudly a dad-to-be) .... why waste money  in buying fancy coloring or story books ... when you can use the free brochures to teach your children.

Moreover, the brochures provide a great detail of information such as

1. Color and look of the product (for example instead of just Fish) - this allows the child to understand and visualize the product.

2. Variety of product - the brochure enables the child to recognize different variety of product such as ikan bawal putih, ikan bawal emas etc

3. Multi-language - BM and English wordings available

4. Price comparisons - multiple hypermarket brochures provide the opportunity to compare and select the best prices thus teaching the child to learn to save ! :)

Honestly, I have a habit as well to go through hypermarket brochures, newspaper ads as well as computer parts price list whenever I can. It provides the opportunity for me to find out about products  out there and what constitutes prices and quality.
So, for parents out there, start your children at an early stage to learn about the economies of living. I believe this is a necessity in light of rising prices in every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

For those who prefer to read the brochures online, here are some sites which I found to be useful :

carrefour

tesco

giant

guardian

caring.png

courts



On another note, I am sure most of you consumers have read about the 1Malaysia Price Portal having problems accommodating the number of visitors lately. Well, good news is I have tried it out and  there doesn't seem to be any problem anymore.

Here's an analysis of the portal and what kind of facilities it provides. URL as below ...

logo_en
Next week, i will present the features available in 1Pengguna for all dear readers. So, stay tuned for the next chapter of Economic ramblings from me !! :)


Economic Impression

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Category: My Life
Published Date Written by Jason Loo

subsidies
As all citizens of Malaysia would know through recent announcements by the government, subsidies will subsequently be reduced. The fancy word is called subsidy rationalization.

Latest news today is that the planned fuel price hike for RON 95 has been put on hold after the Cabinet had a meeting focusing on the issue of fuel subsidies.--

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/no-fuel-gas-price-hike-for-now-says-ismail-sabri/

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/5/25/nation/20110525161506&sec=nation


Luckily for us citizens, the govt still had some sense, looking at how prices of almost everything have gone up. This is especially evident in the big cities such as KL, Penang and JB.

Furthermore, Electricity tariff rates are going to be raised as well  .. According to an article in the Star, "The expected hike in electricity tariffs this week, according to analysts, would likely be in the vicinity of 5% to 10%."

The Base Lending Rate has also risen higher than some anticipated and sooner than analysts expected ... "Effective May 11, the BLR went up 30bps (to 6.6%) which is higher than the OPR increase of 25 bps."
inflation
fuel_wallet_gauge

Now, the important question is .. what will happen to the money previously used for government subsidies ?

According to Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, "the money should instead go to financing projects that would benefit the people more like poverty-eradication programmes and building homes for the people."

An example would probably be the following story of Socso and Unisys.
http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=61007

"Systems provider Unisys has the Social Security Organisation (Socso) in a bind as the organisation’s registration and contribution modules are considered proprietary systems owned solely by Unisys."

The latest controversy seems to center around the setting up of a RM 30million Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Now, for those who are not a IT geek, DRC refers to a backup center for critical applications (of which Socso surely thinks it is). This center will house the exact equipments as in the primary operations center and it will be activated if the primary fails in events such as Japan's Tsunami happens.

Now, I can't help but wonder if other government systems use Unisys and if possible to have a central Government data center and DRC that will host all of the nation's critical systems data. This Govt data center can host a lot of features not only for data storage but also as a virtualization center for govt applications and cloud capability.

Above is just an example of how taxpayers money are used. There are other examples which I will highlight when cases occur.

Of course, there's no denying some of the benefits which the government have used taxpayers money for. This includes the following :

1. SMART tunnel - estimated about RM 1.8 billion (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_Tunnel)
smart

2. Putrajaya - estimated final cost of US$ 8.1 billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putrajaya)
putrajaya01 putrajaya02 putrajaya03

putrajaya01 putrajaya04 Putrajaya-Map


3. STAR and PUTRA LRT lines - estimated cost of RM3.5 billion (http://www.kiat.net/malaysia/KL/transit.html) plus another upcoming RM 7billion (http://www.btimes.com.my/articles/20110311161436/Article/)

lrt_putra lrt_star

4. Upcoming MRT - estimated RM 36.6 billion but expected overrun exceeding RM 50 billion (http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?
file=/2011/3/5/business/8191732)

mrt_route01 mrt_route02


This are of course some of the Infrastructure benefits that the Govt has brought or planning to bring to its people. While we know they have the best of intentions, expenditure and cost savings must be balanced in order not to burden citizens too much and not to result in the rise of inflation.

In the end, does it mean we have to break our piggy banks in order to pay for expenses ? For those who are reading this, please plan wisely and do not overspend on things you truly do not need. Think twice, think necessary and let go of the unworthy :)

savers


Source :
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/5/23/nation/20110523191542&sec=nation
http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/5/24/business/8739815&sec=business
http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/5/23/business/8735782&sec=business
http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/5/23/business/8735782&sec=business
Now, the important question is .. what will happen to the money previously used for government subsidies ?

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