Malaysians struggling to cope with the hike in the prices of goods and services vented their frustrations and anger in complaints and New Year wishes posted on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Facebook page.
Netizens appear unconvinced by Putrajaya’s attempt to justify price hikes and subsidy rationalisation with the argument that it was necessary to protect the economy and investor confidence.
Their Facebook postings range from attacks to pleas, with one user, Mumtaz Haris, suggesting that Najib and the entire Cabinet should step down if they could not resolve the issues plaguing the people "since they were useless and inefficient".
In his Visit Malaysia Year 2014 message, Najib had said that preparations were being made for the year ahead and he called on Malaysians to welcome tourists with a smile.
His message attracted various responses. One user, Joseph Gasis, said he is not sure whether he can smile because he has spent RM600 on school uniforms, bags and stationery for his children. He said he would also have to fork out another RM300 for the school bus fare. Joseph also said he has been unemployed since June and lamented that his savings will not last very long.
Shahrul Bahaman said the new year will be a sad one.
Meanwhile, a posting by Norie Noriah which attracted 5,108 likes, warned the government to tackle the cost of living issue before the people shifted their support.
Another user, Ahmad, wrote that before the 13th general election, Putrajaya had promised there would be no price hike, but it was a different story now.
Sharing the sentiment was Atiqa Ali who asked Najib why the public was burdened with increase after increase in the prices of services and goods when they were already struggling to eke out a living.
She asked Najib what had happened to all the promises made by Barisan Nasional before the 13th general election.
Imran James Dio said even with the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia handouts, the people were still struggling. He added that Malaysia should not achieve developed nation status by 2020 at the expense of the public.
User KY Kheng posted a unique calendar of 12 price increases for every month of the year – sugar, petrol, Astro, assessment rate, bus fares, electricity tariffs, LRT fares, water rates, toll rates, vegetables, basic essentials and the soon-to-be introduced Goods and Services Tax.
Victor Luke slammed Barisan Nasional, calling it a Mickey Mouse entity.
While announcements of price hikes have been met with anger by the public, what irked them further were the wastages and leakages revealed in the 2012 Auditor General's Report. The report revealed that public funds amounting to billions of ringgit had been wasted.
The public's mood was not improved when a pro-Umno consumer group told Malaysians feeling the pinch to work harder. The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) said consumers had to bite the bullet instead of sitting at home and fearing the worst.
University students had a different solution to the price hikes, forming the Reduce Cost of Living Movement, or Turun. A rally to protest the price hikes is scheduled to be held at Dataran Merdeka on New Year's Eve, despite attempts by authorities to paint a negative impression of Turun. – December 30, 2013.