The lifestyles of most people have changed since the increasing prices of essential items brought about by higher transportation costs from the hike of fuel prices.
This was what the online opinion polls conducted Pollster Sdn Bhd from July 26 to Aug 25, covering a topic ‘Costs of Living’ and analysed by Goh Leng Chua, an analyst of Pollster Sdn Bhd.
According to Goh, 39.55 per cent of the respondents were having less eat-out, choosing where and what to eat, while 48.64 per cent refrained from buying non-essential items.
Respondents who opted to cut down on travel accounted for 11.82 per cent, according to Goh in a statement.
He also said there were doubts about the recent fuel hike laced with rebates and other subsidies that would eventually benefit the people.
“About seven per cent of the respondents were not sure which direction such a strategy would lead to, although 41 per cent indicating it would,” Goh said.
Goh also said poor economy had contributed to the increase in crimes like robbery, theft and smuggling, where 66 per cent of the respondents agreed.
Therefore, it was not surprising to have an expansionary Budget 2009 targeting the horns of inflation head-on, he stressed, adding that the police force should be enhanced to ensure public safety and crime reduction.
Goh also said the debate between the newly elected Permatang Pauh MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek in July was beneficial in explaining the fiscal approach of Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional, which 47 per cent of the respondents agreed.
Forty-five per cent said the debate was a step towards democratic awakening.
Meanwhile, 35.45 per cent of the respondents identified global economic volatility as one of the main causes for the increase in cost of living, while 9.09 per cent said petrol prices and transportation charges.
Goh pointed that the Budget 2009 targeted the globalised fluctuating economic environment with the government’s long-term strategy aimed at strengthening the country’s resilience.
“Such measures as developing human capital, reduced import tax on food and specific items, tax exemption for renewable energy and energy efficient items are aimed at the root cause of increased cost of living, that is the costly fossil oil,” said Goh.
He also said the hotel industry incentives for Sabah and Sarawak and heritage conservations in Penang and Melaka would bring in tourist dollars.