CYBERJAYA: Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah today expressed surprise over popular singer Sheila Majid’s complaint over the high cost of living.
“Why’s she complaining about the cost of living? What’s her income?” he told reporters after launching an e-wallet service, Tapay, here today.
Irwan said the government was doing a lot for the B40 group, referring to households with an income of RM3,900 and below.
“We are giving BR1M (annual financial aid) and free education. And where in the world could you pay RM1 to get hospital treatment?”
He added people were complaining as they were living beyond their means.
Irwan explained there was a difference between basic food prices and lifestyle cost.
He said inflation takes into account the basic food items and needs such as rice and sugar, among other basic needs, which together show the inflation rate is at 3.5%.
He said annual salary increase of 5-6% is higher than inflation.
“The salary increase should cover the inflationary cost,” he said.
On Tuesday, popular singer Sheila Majid caught the attention of the public when she lamented the high cost of living and the weak ringgit in a post on Twitter.
She had said food was expensive, the ringgit was weak, cost of living was high and jobs were scarce.
She had said Malaysians are becoming tired and angry for being “squeezed over debts that the public did not create”.
Sheila asked the government to stop making excuses and focus on the job of getting the country back on track.
Irwan said Malaysians should live within their means.
“If you start taking into account all the luxurious things in your cost of living … that’s where people are complaining.”
He added other than lower inflation, the property market had also dipped in price slightly.
Irwan said Malaysia is a prosperous country and reaffirmed that the economy was growing.