Friday, June 01, 2007

Rising cost of crime

It dawned on mom and dad some time ago that the spate of crimes in Malaysia is probably due to one key factor -- the fast rising cost of living in the country.

Many goods in the Malaysian capital, which saw a mind-boggling 40 per cent jump in crime rates in the first three months of this year, appear to have gone up quite substantially in the last one year. Dad noticed that prices started creeping up quite rapidly after the Malaysian government cut state subsidies drastically last year to help cope with the big jump in global oil prices.

The removal of the oil subsidies resulted in an overnight jump in retail pump prices to about RM1.90 from about RM1.60 per litre. Dad believes many businessmen and even traders at pasar malams (night markets) have marked up their price tags, citing higher transportation costs owing to higher petrol prices. Some increases could well be justified. Others simply smacked of profiteering.

Mom noticed tonight that many retail items are now priced higher in Kuala Lumpur than those in more developed Singapore. For instance, she noticed a pendant being priced at RM119 at a shop in the second wing of One Utama shopping centre on the outskirts of KL. She reckons the same item is priced at less than S$35 in Singapore or about RM89 based on the current exchange rate ($S1 = RM2.22). Dad noticed a linen shirt at Island Shop being priced almost the same as that back home in Singapore.

Cost of many items has gone up although the Malaysian currency has strengthened considerably in the last two years since the 7-year-old peg broke in July 2005. The ringgit has strengthened to RM3.40 against the US dollar from RM3.80 per USD -- an appreciation of over 10 per cent.

But the stronger ringgit doesn't seem to have a major impact in capping prices of many goods in the country. Malaysia imports quite a big chunk of intermediate and final goods.

Hence, it won't come as a surprise if more people in the country -- both Malaysians and foreign workers -- find it increasingly difficult to cope with the rising cost of living and resort to criminal activities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

more problems at klang lane blocks 671 and 672 near belilios road. indian workers lie on the floor of hdb void decks drunk with beer and hard liquor. They stare at women and disturb the peace by fighting and shouting at the void decks