Datuk Seri Idris Haron

Cost Of Living Or Cost Of Lifestyle? - Idris

By Fadzli Ramli & Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama) -- Of late, the high cost of living is often highlighted in the social media platforms being a major issue faced by the majority of Malaysians, and yet many are unaware that there is a difference between the cost of living and the cost of lifestyle.

Being a keyboard warrior, there are certain individuals often complaining about their hardship struggling with life's difficulties due to the high cost of living, yet at the same time they were proud to show their imported cars; designer clothings; and enjoying fancy meals.

Live within your means' was something that Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron held dear, as a result of his experiences managing his life and finances when he started working in the late 80's after completing his studies in the United States.

He said, his job as an engineer at the Lembaga Letrik Negara (now Tenaga Nasional Berhad) was very good at that time, however, growing up in difficult childhood taught him to be wise in managing his finances, and with a salary of RM1,160 a month, it was adequate to support his mother's expenses, as well as his own.

"I was commuting to work by bus daily and paid RM3.60 for the tickets a day and had to board the bus as early as 6.55am, with only two nice shirts that I owned then costing only RM11.90 each while working as an engineer. Seriously, how many engineers today live frugally like this?

"I am not asking them to follow my style but we need to learn to manage our finances wisely so that we will not be caught up in this issue, so we need to ask ourselves, whether we are actually caught in the high cost of living or the high cost of lifestyle," he said in an interview with Bernama here.

"It depends on the wisdom of the person in managing his finances according to needs and abilities then there is no high cost of living," he said.

He said the cost of living would arise when the individual was spending beyond his means.

Idris also said his job as an engineer was not his ticket for living a luxurious life, instead it required his own tireless efforts to build a better life for his family.

"I was growing up without electricity, even when I started working with LLN I was still unable to provide power supply for my mother's house, just imagine an LLN engineer was unable to provide power supply for their parents' home but this was the reality of my life at that time. I was only able to do that in 1991 when I was a senior engineer."

Idris claimed that the high cost of living issue has been manipulated by the opposition to confuse the people, aimed at planting doubts among the community against the leaders and the ruling government.

He said the price of goods has changed steadily over the years and was nothing new as it did occur in the previous administrations before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"I remember when I was small listening to my mom complaining about the increased price of goods, but they were still controlled by the government particularly daily basic necessities such as rice, sugar, flour and cooking oil."

"They (the opposition) have created this issue and turned it into something alarming so that people will think about the burden of high cost of living and ultimately reduce their confidence in the ruling government's efficiency," he said.