Previously, Malaysia Indicator found that the issue of the cost of living is slowly diffusing in the media. Cost of living has long been an issue among Malaysians, hence the decrease in media exposure may indicate that the problem is slowly being tackled.
Statistics show the comparison of issues of cost of living which surfaced during two different periods i.e. 19 January 2020 to 19 February 2020 (past 1 month) and 1 October 2019 t0 31 December 2019 (3 months).
From October 1, 2019 to 31 December, 2019, news regarding the cost of living were mainly negative in sentiment. Headlines such as ‘ron 95 naik 1 sen setiap minggu’, ‘harga minyak’ and ‘menyelesaikan masalah kos sara hidup yang tinggi’ became the trending topic in the mainstream media.
In October last year, Pakatan Harapan (PH) announced that the price of Ron95 will be raised by one or two cents every week once the targeted fuel subsidy scheme kicks off in January 2020.
It became a trending topic in the media, peaking with more than 650 news: three times more than its usual monthly rate.
According to the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, the decision to float the price of oil was to ease the cost of living of the people and to prevent the price of goods from rising sharply.
However, the initiative was negatively received as the majority of the people did not agree with the Government’s weekly fuel float pricing announcement.
Subsequently, in December that year, Pakatan decided to delay the implementation of the targeted fuel subsidy program (PSP) until a time that will be announced later.
The decision to delay the implementation of PSP apparently recovered the issue of the cost of living in the media.
From 19 January 2020 to 19 February 2020, news mainly focused on the Government’s initiative to tackle the high cost of living that has long haunt Malaysians. For example, the first phase payment of RM300 under the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) initiative and the 18% toll reduction on PLUS highways.
Looking at the trend, it looks like the Government is currently on the right track in slowly curbing the high cost of living in Malaysia, however, they still have a long way to go.