2018 – Good Things & Tragedies So Far

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2018

(Miracle do happen! Karma do exist! For the first time in history, in 2018 the opposition will form the Federal Government and take extra states compared to the last elections. It’s is time to clean up the nation and enforce the rule of law. Photo source: NSTP)

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Preamble

I can’t believe that I last blogged back in September 2017 – time does flies fast when one is not looking

Well, it is not that I had lost interest in blogging (I still do drafts now and then but don’t have the time to complete them) but I found that given the very little time that I have apart from work & family, typing on issues and events over the social media & instant messages (Facebook, Twitter and the countless Whatsapp Groups) is more convenient (just hit the “Share” button and your message gets through) compared to blogging which takes time as I tend to do more research and review the drafts over and over again.

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30 Cents Fuel Price Increase: Time to Boycott Some Restaurants

restaurant price increase

When the announcement on the fuel price was made, the Indian Restaurant near my work place lost not time increasing the food prices.

It cost us more now for breakfast and lunch at this restaurant now  – teh tarik went up from RM1.00 to RM1.20, burger up by another 20 cents and roti canai up by another 10 cents. Every item on the menu went up by 10 – 20 cents.It outraged some patrons that they called Malay Mail and complained about it.

In response to the complaint, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s enforcement director Abdul Rosik Takub informed they will be visiting the restaurant soon. He said “We do not condone food outlets overcharging customers.”

We were happy to note that restaurant will not getaway with such an arbitrary increase in price but reading between the lines in the paper, we also noted that there was catch in the Rosik’s statement.

He said “Although prices of cooked food are not controlled, all food outlets are required to display price tags. If the prices charged are different from the price tags, then the outlets have committed an offence” He said that if the restaurant is found to have violated the price directive, action can be taken against it.

The problem was the restaurant owner was also fast enough to “update” the price list with the new prices. So, I don’t think Rosik will be able to book the owners for the increase of food price. At the most, Rosik can only give a friendly pep talk to the restaurant owner whilst having his teh tarik and roti canai.

I put myself in the restaurant owner’s shoes and thought for second on what will cause me to increase the food price. Increase in LPG price? I cook more means I use more LPG means I pay more? Yes, sound reasonable since LPG went up 30 cents per kilogram. But is it worth the 10 – 20 cents increase on all the food prices?

Let’s do some “kindergarten” maths, shall we? All figures are on a “wildest imagination” assumption and also assuming that the only increase in expenses is for fuel and LPG (other “raw” items have increased too, I understand).

Before the increase:

RM30 for petrol (say to go to market and back) and RM17.40 for one 12 kg LPG cylinder and let’s that it is sufficient to make 50 teh-tarik and 50 roti canai (Malaysian favorite past time food mah). So at RM0.80 per roti canai and RM1.00 per glass of teh tarik, there is an income of RM90.00 against expenses (petrol & LPG) of RM47.40. That gives a gross profit of RM42.60 per day (fine with me)

After the increase (with 30 cents up for fuel and LPG):

It is now RM35.56 for petrol (again to go to market and back) and RM21.00 for one 12 kg LPG cylinder in order to maintain the same 50 teh-tarik and 50 roti canai per day. So at RM0.90 per roti canai and RM1.20 per glass of teh tarik, there is an increased income of RM105.00 against expenses (petrol & LPG) of RM56.56. That gives a gross profit of RM48.44 per day.

Did you see the kill?

The gross profit went up by RM5.84 per day! Now multiply that with 31 days gives you a comfortable kill of RM182 per month. Not much, you say but remember that restaurants don’t sell food for RM105 per day. My estimate is that they sell at least RM500 or more. Further, the price of every item has gone up by 10 – 20 cents.

So no matter what you take, you are paying more. I would have understand this if the restaurant would have increased the prices as to maintain the same profit margin but here, they are not only maintained the margin, they managed to increased it too. All in the name of “sorry lah boss, harga minyak sudah naik, semua harga pun naik

The restaurant was indeed making a big kill with their increase price and since there is little the Ministry can do to stop them, we decided on one action. That is to boycott the restaurant.

Other restaurants nearby are still selling at reasonable price. This even so, when these restaurants saw an increase of customers (going for cheaper price) and are intend to maintain them as regular customers (food with cheap price and good taste is always welcomed by all of us here)

Rakyat lose RM0.30, the Government save RM0.30 but the restaurants like the one near my workplace makes the profit of….who knows? Until then, the boycott continues, I may even opt to “ta-pau” food from home.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Money)

See also: What’s with 30 cents increase?

What’s with the 30 cents increase?

30 cents

(Are we driving the right car to be concerned with 30 cents increase in fuel price? Cartoon source: http://www.fewings.ca/ and copyright by John Fewings)

I heard about the so called “covert” increase in fuel price when I was still in Bangkok. It hit me hard when I returned to Malaysia and found the plain mee goreng at my favorite mamak joint has gone up by 20 cents at the stroke of midnight! Obviously, the mamak was faster than some of us. Yes, it is becoming way of life for us Malaysians.

Reading through the net, it seems like a lot of Malaysian are crying foul too. Most seems to be unhappy on the increased amount they have to pay for the fuel. Some even demonstrated in front of the Petronas Towers although the objective of the demonstration was questionable. After all, 30 cents increase is huge right?

However, there are some who agree with the increase on the fuel price but wants the Government to wisely use the money saved from the subsidy. Yes, we can go out to the streets waving a keris in our hands, seeking the Government to maintain the fuel subsidy but fortunately not all of us are born with the subsidy mentality. We understand the mechanics behind the move to increase the fuel price. In the end, the subsidy has to go.

I personally believe that we should take away the RM4.4 billion of fuel subsidy and use that money to improve on the standard of living. The fuel price has been artificially low for a long time that it has encourage wastage and spiral increase in traffic & pollutions (if you staying in Puchong and uses the LDP, you will know what I mean). Fuel subsidy in the long run is bad news.

Morgan Stanley summarised it in 4 main strong points as to why fuel subsidy is a bad thing. For details, read here. One point made by Morgan Stanley that caught my eyes is this: “In the short run, higher prices should lower demand. But if prices are kept artificially low, users will continue to guzzle oil”. How true – when they guzzle, they guzzle a lot and I don’t mean the fuel inefficient Malaysian cars.

Anyway as I said, I am all up to take away the subsidy and use the money for improvement on the standard of living. I pat myself on the back for what I perceived to be a good direction. Then I stopped and thought to myself…wait a minute, this is the Government of Malaysia that we are talking about.

Given their “track record”, I fear for the worst – an increase in fuel price & the money saved from subsidy wasted by some ambitious mega projects or bailouts (I sense Proton and MAS already queuing up for some charitable hand-outs). If it happens, it only means one thing – typical Malaysians got screwed twice. Will it happen that way despite Pak Lah’s on road show on the Government too will be thrifty?

What’s with 30 cents increase to me?

Obviously for a start, I have to stop going to the mamak joint for my mee goreng. The mamak at the mamak joint needs to sell 3 roti canai to cover for the fuel price. He already raised the price from 80 cents to 90 cents and the fact that he does not travel much, I doubt that the 30 cents increase in the fuel price will have any impact on him but what the heck; it is still a good excuse to sell the roti canai for 10 cents more.

This also meant that I have to reduce my time playing computer games so as to reduce the electricity bills. Ultimately Tenaga Nasional will be knocking on the PM’s doors to get the green light to increase the rates, so I might as well start early. Syabas, Alam Flora and Telekom Malaysia will be on the lookout too – they might as well make the killing whilst it last. In a nutshell, I have to reduce my all expenditures just to meet the 30 cents in fuel price and 10 – 30 cents arbitrary increase in other stuff. It’s about time anyway.

I wish I could take the public transport but the irony of things is there are no public transport between Puchong and Sunway. Two big residential areas, side by side and yet there is not a single public bus running between them! We are only left with only one major road – LDP Highway which is choked with traffic most of the time. So, all the talk of improving the public transports seem full shit for the time being. Why talk about improving the bus service when there are no buses running in the first place. This leaves me with no option but to continue driving to work.

My Iswara is not exactly the type that BBC’s Top Gear will highlight for fuel efficiency but at least it is in good working order (with proper service schedule too. Ya, blame me for that). I watch Jeremy’s antics with saving fuel with his V8 Audi at Paul Tan several times to see whether I could learn a trick or two but there was not much to learn.

Yes, Jeremy said accelerate before climbing the hill – that is good for saving fuel. I tried the same; I was forced to slow down by a Kancil driven by an old lady on the fast lane. But seriously folks, most of time I spent on stop-go-stop driving on the hills but with the increase in fuel price, there is a glimmer of hope that there will be fewer cars on the road. Fat chance but it is as fat as Pak Lah’s hope that traders will not increase prices.

In couple of month’s time, I’ll bet that some Majlis Perbandaran (Local Authority) will blow away thousands of Ringgit on some wasteful beautifying project or all “important” overseas cum holidays trips and will still have the cheek to say that it was done because they had the budget. This will happen, trust me.

Already, the police made their move with a request to build a training centre for the special op costing RM1.0 billion. That’s left Aisehman to wonder why.

My final question – what’s next? Remember that there is RM4.4 billion up for grabs and plenty more subsidies to be cut. The belt around my waist just got tighter. It’s time to lose more weight.

(Filed under Del.icio.us Tag: Governance)