Flaying the messenger doesn’t change the facts

Malaysian jazz icon Sheila Majid has come under fire in recent days for her tweet decrying the rising cost of living.

Commentary

Malaysian jazz icon Sheila Majid’s tweet on the rising cost of living has continued to resound with Sarawakians trumpeting loudly in support. The truth is, who doesn’t feel the pinch of the higher cost of living nowadays?

The Queen of Malaysian Jazz’s tweet on Dec 5, saying that “food is expensive, ringgit is weak, cost of living is high & jobs are scarce. M’sians are becoming tired & angry for being squeezed over debts we did not create. Stop making excuses & looking for faults. Focus on the job of getting our country back on track! Disappointing!!” was retweeted 29,000 times.

Her tweet had drawn flak from many, mostly UMNO leaders and even TV presenters, saying that she is wrong and that she had no expertise to comment on socio-economic issues.

A screenshot of Sheila Majid’s tweet.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan even asked Sheila Majid and other celebrities to visit the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for a briefing on the current state of the Malaysian economy.


He had reportedly said: “But I do hope she can engage her critics and articulate further the reasons why she said what she said.”

Another Umno leader even went to the extent of saying that the rise in living costs is God’s will, which instantly sparked controversy.

Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen described this as UMNO’s usual bullying tactic when they could not reason with something or try to oppress a rational argument.

He said every ordinary person with or without an economic degree could felt the pinch from the rising cost of living, and said only those who “get money easily through corrupted practice” would say otherwise.

With everything becoming more expensive and even someone like Sheila Majid finding life is tough, imagine the suffering of ordinary people, especially poor Sarawakians.

Netizens from the state said Sheila Majib was “right”, “spot on” and were so thankful that she had brought the issue up, as any ordinary person who had complained about it would be labeled as ‘opposition supporter’.

A sampling of the supportive comments on Facebook:

“I think she is right to the point. Soon some BN politicians will go after her, claiming she is pro-PH like what happened to another celebrity very recently.”

“You don’t have to be an economist to feel the high costs of everyday living, that your RM1 today can’t buy much.”

Just about a week ago, another politician here had questioned the rosy statistics given about the country’s economic growth when everybody is tightening their belts yet again from the bite of rising costs of living.

Another tragic fact? Just a few months ago, two kids from Serian died of rabies because their parents didn’t have RM40 to send them for treatment.

There is no use to spend hundreds of thousands of ringgit to organise exhibitions or whatever programme to convince people that the economy is good. From buying Milo to buying houses, the rising cost of expenses is irrefutable.

What is the point to “correct” public figures for voicing their concerns? Like what Sheila Majid said, Sarawakians, too, are tired and angry. Focus on the real job and not prohibiting people from voicing about their difficulties. — DayakDaily