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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Muslim group: Don't fight price hikes - work harder

Putting a positive spin on price hikes, Muslim consumer groups today said that it should spark the people to work harder and earn more money.

In a event also participated in by Finance Ministry officials, Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) today organised a forum at a government hall, attempting to sugarcoat the spate of recent and impending hikes.

PPIM forum on price hikes - PPIM chief nadzim Johan, Sheikh adbul Kareem S Khadaied (with songok)Attended by over 50 people, many were concerned about government cutbacks in petrol, sugar, toll and gas and power subsidies that may further result in inflated prices in 2014 of everything from school bus fares to a cup of tea.

PPIM, that boasts it has thousands of members, had this advice for them.

"You have got to bite the bullet. You can't just sit at home and dread the doom ...go out there,  do something, find extra income," Nadzim Johan, PPIM chief (above, left) said at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy in Kuala Lumpur.

"We need the push. These days we lack the pressure. This will be the spark for us to rise up and work harder."
For example, he said, one could plant one's own serai (lemongrass) and plant chilli to save costs, or start a business selling fried bananas or mineral water.
For office clockwatchers he recommended that they raise productivity.

"The official time is eight hours a day in the office, but for some, the real work may take only 6 hours... so there are two hours to spare. 

"So rather than taking it easy, it's better to work harder like our Chinese and Indian friends," he said.

He cited that lagging productivity was a serious malaise resulting in underpaid soldiers and police, who then sometimes are pushed to find a side income.

On the other hand, price hikes can't be avoided and is a universal occurrence, Nadzim argued, adding jokingly that "even Jupiter may have it."

'GST may not collect more'

Another Muslim consumer activist downplayed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) starting April 2015 as "a change of taxation regime."
"It is unavoidable. If you want to fight it, it's futile. Might as well overcome it," International Muslim Consumer Association secretary general Sheikh Abdul Kareem S Khadaied said.    

flash mob against price hike 221213 mid valley 06Rather than fight government price hikes, Sheikh Abdul Kareem called on consumers to unite and fight corporations and businesses that tried to cheat people. 

"If you have a problem, come to us... God willing we will do what we can," he said.

Later, taking fiery questions from the audience, Finance Ministry official Chen Chaw Min tried to defend the GST. 

He said the government may end up collecting no more than RM3 billion extra revenue even with the GST as it would abolish the Sales and Service Tax at the same time.

Refusing to listen anymore, an angry protester accused Chen of sounding like a MCA politician. 

Chen disagreed, claiming he had a PhD in finance and saying he could have easily left the country for greener pastures elsewhere but had chosen not to.

"When we do policies we are concerned about the public perception. Whatever we do, we must be positive how we react.. this is life," Chen, a senior civil servant said. 

"I have the capability to go overseas but what about my people ...who is going to help them? That's why I am in the civil service."

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