I read this in Malaysia Today:
(The Rocket) – RM41.60 is enough to feed a family for a week, according to Prime Minister Najib Razak. In a speech boasting about the impact of the BR1M government welfare assistance program, Najib said that receipients of the RM500 aid would be able to buy food for one year.
“We have calculated that on average, a family can buy groceries such as 10kg of rice, 5kg of cooking oil and other essentials per month with RM41.60. That means they have enough to buy food for 12 months with the RM500 BR1M,” he told the crowd when officiating the Terengganu state level “Program Jelajah Janji Ditepati” in Dataran Syahbandar, as reported by news agency Bernama.
Based on Najib’s calculations, each family would have a household daily food budget of RM1.40.
Rising food prices
Netizens have ridiculed Najib for his comment, calling him out of touch with the actual cost of living struggles faced by ordinary citizens. Threads in the popular forum lowyat.net are discussing Najib’s statement, juxtaposing it together with actual food prices.
A forum user calling himeself “t3arsCulprit” pointed out that the cheapest price for a 10kg packet of rice costs RM20 and a 5kg bottle of oil cost RM15.
User “scorptim” went further to divide the amount of rice that an individual could afford to consume within a month with a 10kg limit and three daily meals, working out to be 111g of rice per meal.
Users “Mie131085″, “exBlasTer” and “Acher13″ also doubted that the RM500 would be sufficient to cover living expenses for a year.
Meanwhile, PAS’s Parit Buntar member of parliament Mujahid Yusof Rawa called Najib’s calculation “illogical”, pointing out that the threshold level for poverty is a household income of RM1,200 a month. “It’s hilarious, whether Najib said it wrongly or he said it unconsciously, but he was wide awake,” Mujahid said.
DAP’s MP for Bukit Bendera, Liew Chin Tong called Najib “a political prince” who has no understanding of the lives and aspirations of the ordinary Joe. Liew said Najib’s statement showed that he has no inkling of what the people endure in an economy that doesn’t help the bottom 60 per cent.
In his speech, Najib added that this showed that Barisan is a government that looks after the people. As such, he stressed that the people should now realise the truth and reject the opposition coalition.
More than 20,000 people attended the event, including Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said.
Najib must be referring to the times when a cup of coffee cost 25 cents – was it in the 50’s or what. What hurt me most was the fact that we have a Prime Minister lost in wonderland, impervious to the difficulties of the ordinary citizens. Perhaps, he was born with the proverbial silver spoon, to say $500 was enough to buy food for a year. He is so shallow of thought and if anything good is to come, he should go and buy his own foodstuff and see how much it costs. Whew! what a PM and he wants another 5 years. I think he has taken all the BRIM recipients as fools, and did not have the grace to keep mum. He is sure going to lose.
I was wondering how much he earns, but went far enough to find a web page, to know a Minister’s earning:
Basic salary: RM18000.
Entertainment allowance: RM10500.
Housing allowance: RM10800.
People’s representative allowance: RM10650.
Parking fee allowance: RM5700
Total RM55650 will credit to a minister personal bank account every month no matter him/her is working or not.
Wow, a lot? No yet, let’s see other benefits.
Foreign travel allowance RM50000 (this is pocket money only); it is claimable without any receipt and even the minister didn’t go for travel.
Free use of electricity.
Free use of water.
Free charge of using telephone.
Yearly renovation allowance is claimable maximum up to RM40000.
Provided a Mercedes S320 car, mobile phone, driver and free petrol.
All the donations expenses are claimable.
Open house for any festival is claimable maximum up to RM400000.
Apparently this is a 2009 figure. Is Najib joking?