Let's get this straight. All pensioners are retirees, but not all retirees are pensioners. In Malaysia, it matters which category you fall under after you punch out for the last time at your place of work. If you are a pensioner, your future looks secure. The government will provide for you, AND even after your demise, your spouse is looked after. No wonder our civil service is the biggest in the world in relation to our population. So many perks and handouts!
While I am happy for the pensioners, and I do have many good friends who are pensioners, I sympathize with the retirees especially those from the middle income group. As mentioned in a previous post ("Little for seniors to cheer about in Budget 2012"), they do not qualify for welfare, and neither are they eligible for the one-off perks regularly given out before elections or before Budget Day, or whenever the government feels it's time to make the 1.42 million civil servants happy.
While it is understandable the government must take care of their own, shouldn't it also look after the welfare of other groups as well? What is this 'People First, Performance Now' and all the 1Malaysia sloganizing if not mere lip service? Slogans sound hollow if not backed up by action and results that are visible, not just perceived.
Practically all the senior citizens who were interviewed by the media for their reaction to Budget 2013 are pensioners or are eligible for welfare. Of course, they are overjoyed. And why not? They are grateful to the government for its generosity and heap praise on the PM for thinking of the 'people'.
|The small people (the lower income group) are offered one-off perks and budget goodies. The writer should also ask lower middle income retirees from the private sector for their views as well.|
Try interviewing a retiree from the lower or middle income group who is not a civil servant. Ask for his comments on the budget. His answer is probably #%*@!!! - not printable!
Giving one-off handouts is good only for the short term. What happens after the money is gone? I have personally overheard a student asking his friend at a book store what else to buy with their RM200 book voucher from an earlier handout. He had just purchased some stationery and obviously didn't enjoy reading books, much less textbooks for which the voucher was meant. There are also cases of people spending their RM500 voucher on upgrading their electrical gadgets, rather than on necessities. I am sure many of us can quote real life examples of misuse of these vouchers.
|Retirees would welcome a discount card like this |
one issued by the Queensland government.
For a start, the government can issue a seniors discount card to all retirees and pensioners aged 65 and above for the purchase of provisions, petrol, and for payment of utilities. I have two warga emas cards at the moment - one for 50% discount on RapidKL buses and trains (which I use almost every day), and the other (which I rarely use) for a 10% discount for medicines, health supplements and healthcare products purchased at Guardian. What we need is a discount card for purchases at supermarkets and petrol stations. RM200 used to be enough to see our family through a whole week. Now we would be lucky if it tides us over three days.
Mind-boggling numbers - all about spending and dishing out goodies to make the people 'happy'. Where is all this money coming from? According to The Star report, "The proposals (to reduce personal tax by 1%) will reduce the number of individual income taxpayers by 170,000 to 1.7 million as compared to the overall workforce of 12 million.
Handing out goodies like this is NOT sustainable. Total Federal Govt debt is expected to rise by 10.1% to RM502.4 billion. Of this figure, domestic debt accounts for 96.5% or RM484.8 billion. Yet the handouts keep on coming. When is this reckless spending going to stop? When the country goes belly up?
IT PAYS TO BE A CIVIL SERVANT IN MALAYSIA
IT'S RAINING GOODIES IN MALAYSIA
TONY PUA TELLS IT AS IT IS