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YOURSAY | Eating out is sometimes a necessity

YOURSAY | ‘The entire food chain is monopolised by certain quarters.’

Eating out 'addiction' shrinks disposable income, Rafizi blames past policies

Hmmmmmmmm: I agree that in many countries, especially developed ones, eating out is a luxury.

Eating out in those countries is expensive because wages are high. 

This is not the case in Malaysia. Here, wages are low and we also have many kinds of food outlets ranging from Mamak stalls to high-class restaurants.

I believe most of us patronise lower-end eateries. For some, it is not only a necessity but may even be cheaper than cooking at home.  

For us to beat inflation, we need to be self-sufficient. The government needs to introduce policies to allow any citizen to be given land for agriculture.

Give them a deadline to show results or else the land can be taken back.

We have too much idle land in this country and we are not reaping the full potential of that land.  

This is a multiracial country. Businesses have to cater to the needs of people of different races.

Alcohol may be haram for many people here, but they are not the intended sales market.

Also, tourists are from many different faiths. We need to attract more tourists and investors to grow our economic pie.

We need to expand the variety of businesses in this country to cater to all kinds of people.

As it is now, we have too many restrictive laws regarding entertainment, concerts, alcohol, the making of movies, and casinos.

A153: What Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said is true for the majority of working adults, especially single people and parents.

The average working Malaysian finishes work at 5.30pm or 6pm, many even later, and the commute home takes at least one hour.

By the time they are home, they are often too tired to cook.

Many come home to face chores, take care of the children, do more office work they brought home, or do “side hustles” to make ends meet.

Poor public transportation, poor road planning, exploitative/inflexible/toxic work culture, and stagnant wages are some factors that contribute to many Malaysians' reliance on eating out.  

Another factor is upbringing. Many Malaysians grew up eating food outside. So they develop a taste for it.

They eat out often from a young age and have grown accustomed to hawkers and street food.  Malaysians are proud of their food.

But the truth is, a lot of the Malaysian food that we are so proud of is very unhealthy and loaded with oil, sugar, sodium, and refined carbohydrates.  

Plus, many are addicted to fast food. For many in the B40, fast food is a regular treat and they spend quite a bit on it, especially during the end of the month.  

It is no coincidence that fast food outlets are much more common in B40 areas, especially predominantly Malay neighbourhoods.

So, not only are they spending a significant portion of their meagre income on outside food, they are ruining their health.

BluePanther4725: Eating out is a main element of our Malaysian culture. People are usually able to enjoy good, affordable food with all their friends easily.

However, after the pandemic, many business people who had suffered losses tried to recoup their losses by exploiting the people and raising cooked food prices exorbitantly.

They have undermined our Malaysian culture.

Nowadays, a simple meal in a kopitiam for a family of four costs around RM50. It is so ridiculous.

One way for the government to help is to provide free market competition and build more low-rental food courts for the people.

Having more Menu Rahmah vending machines in all train stations and other places will help as well.

People need to be given fair choices so that we can avoid being exploited by cartel business people who manipulate and monopolise food prices.

BOBBYO: We have a lot of idle lands and also labourers that are willing to till the ground.  

Malaysians face many obstacles like race and greedy government officials that stand in the way of making this nation self-reliant on our food resources.  

Land that is toiled by past farmers is not given title to the land, even after applying for the title for years.

Instead, they are sold to private developers in exchange for personal gains. So, what is the Madani government going to do about these problems?

Are they going to keep on playing the racial card to try and win the majority race vote or are they willing to open these lands to any individual who is willing to grow crops of the food that we import?  

Talk is cheap and free. Giving away land to farmers who are sincere in developing the land and growing crops, which will help in reducing our foreign food import bill, is not easy.  

So, what will it be Rafizi?

WhiteKijang2814: Still not getting the point. People may feel a slight pinch about buying food and not cooking at home, but the real issue here is not about buying or cooking.

The entire food chain is monopolised by certain quarters.

Rice, sugar, and flour are monopolised by your political grandmaster in the name of a license and permit.

Come up with policies to break this monopoly.

While I’m not a big fan of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, there was a time under his administration when there were policies to support farmers to sell their products directly to consumers through farmer’s markets and other means.

Every government since has been creative in coming up with wonderful plans but none has revisited any of these plans to learn and improve.  

If you’re very sincere, please revisit the policy implemented by Mahathir, understand what has gone wrong, and how it can be fixed, and come up with policies that are achievable and realistic.

FellowMalaysian: How do you expect families to cook and eat at home when both parents are now working?

You can thank the past and present government’s aggressive policies in getting them to supplement incomes by encouraging both parents to earn.

Mothers’ traditional role in looking after children has now been replaced with a job in the office or supermarket.

Don’t expect the wife to become a superwoman when the man cannot earn and bring enough to the dining table.

Rafizi’s lackadaisical performance since becoming the economy minister stinks to high heaven.

You have spent many millions in your high-flying programme on getting youths to become farmers and planters.

Why is there an eerie dearth of silence in your pet project? I believe you have fumbled miserably and you lack the courage to admit your failures.

LimePanther5220: I do know that Singaporeans eat out a lot - I do believe more so than Malaysians - because they work long hours and don’t have time to cook.

Many stay in flats which are small and inconvenient to cook in. Many also stay in rented properties where homeowners forbid cooking.

Why is it that Malaysians spend a whopping 27.5 percent of their disposable income on food while it is only 8.4 percent for Singaporeans?

Is it because our ringgit is too weak or we Malaysians are underpaid?

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