In Dec 2009 1kg of sugar was RM1.45. Robert Kuok exited the sugar business in Malaysia in Oct that same year. Entered Syed Bukhari as the new sugar king. In December 2010 sugar rose to RM2.10 per kg. In the span of 12 months sugar went up by 65 sen after it changed hands, cos the government said it was reducing subsidies.
But sugar isn't the only thing that has gone up. Everything is. Prices of butter will go up by 10-12% this coming May. Life is getting to be rather expensive even in Alor Setar. If you opt to buy just an egg or two from the sundry shop now, it costs up to 50 sen per egg. If you buy in tens, it's around 35-40 sen. And if you work really hard and search for good bargains, you might still be able to get a really big egg for around 36 sen. But you've got to know where to look for such eggs and you have to buy in bulk. Not everyone does that or is able to get friends to buy the same type of eggs. People in the 'can-afford-to-buy' bracket have way too many idiosyncrasies.
Prices of daily stuff is going up and up. Our ringgit may be strengthening but our purchasing power doesn't seem to be growing in tandem. Inflation is something that is very real for the man on the street. The funny thing is our economy is supposed to be doing well... but the more money we bring home don't seem to be bringing in very much more goodies for our families. We're working harder than before to bring in more dough... but more dough doesn't seem to give us more food, relatively speaking.
Weekend is the only time I go out for breakfast with my girl. A plate of fried mee/kwayteow, one small meat pau and one small bottle of soya (we share) cost approximately RM6. Used to be below RM5. It is costly to eat out now. Government and service taxes add on to the cost. It's cheaper to eat at the hawker stalls; more value for money.
Prices of things continue to rise.... and rise. Economy rice is also not that economy nowadays. Chak-fun with 3 choices ranges from RM4 - 5, depending on the type of dishes you take. It's worse at the Nasi Kandar shop. Nasi kandar is food for the rich now... which is just as well, I supposed since it brings with it all those rich man's health problems. One of the few good news is that RON95 is still stable at RM1.90 per litre, heavily subsidized. But that's one of those few places I see my taxes coming back to me. But we can never continue subsidizing.....
A bun from the cake shop is now no longer cheap. And it seems to be smaller. The cheap mee (pre-fried mee) that we used to buy from Jalan Putra and the market is now RM1.50; portions are smaller too. It used to be RM0.50 per packet and you could fill your stomach with it. If the prices remained, the size would shrink. Value for money is beginning to feel like distant dream.
Our strengthening ringgit....yup! No denial that electronic gadgets are getting cheaper. But those stuff don't feed the stomachs. The stuff that feeds our stomachs don't seem to be benefitting from the strengthening ringgit..... unless you are thinking of importing false eggs or melamine tainted products from China.