A visit to the local wet market is enough to give you palpitations. Prices of vegetables and fruit have soared, perhaps by as much as a third over the last few years. One news report even said that the price of kangkung rose in December 2013.
The higher prices of basic foodstuff, along with the overall higher cost of living, is a major issue in the Kajang by-election. In an Umcedel survey, 69 per cent of respondents in Kajang reportedly felt that the increasing cost of living would raise support for Pakatan Rakyat.
This may be a fair reflection of sentiment across the country and could favour opposition parties. The soaring price of produce, along with higher property and motor vehicle prices, has emptied the pockets of low-income and even middle-class households. In coffee-shops and private homes, friends and relatives huddle together and grumble about the latest price increases in the local wet market.
Soaring food prices are a symptom of something deeper at work and signals that all is not well with the economy, which is also exposed to global forces.
This article will discuss some possible reasons why people are feeling burdened despite fairly rosy GDP growth figures.