The days are long and the nights are, well just shambolic.
Well you look at the beer prices in KL these days. Now, now before those who look unkindly at beer guzzlers, wine connoisseurs and spirits mixers switch off from my analysis, there is a rights issue here.
I have more than on one occasion reiterated the offensive taxation in Malaysia on alcohol – and now with the ghastly oil furore perhaps policy makers can reduce our drink bill for the month.
In addition to my standards arguments against high taxation I would like to add the present situation providing an emerging reason.
Malaysians with the present rising inflation rate has rendered all Malaysians with less purchasing power. As Malaysian laws dictate that alcohol is a legal product albeit regulated, then its consumers must be given some relieve because plainly, alcohol prices in Malaysia are the highest in Asean with the exception of Brunei.
The price of a San Miguel in Manila would be RM1.10 retail, and in beer producing Indonesia about RM3.50. In Malaysia the beer at the supermarket is at a cool RM6.50-7.00. The price is too expensive and this burns a severe hole in the pockets of Malaysians compared to anywhere else in civilised Asean.
There are things which prices are subject to market factors like oil. But the price factor in beer here in Malaysia is tax. Malaysian politicians are awash with alcohol tax money when most of them pretend not to drink. If alcohol is haram, then surely income from in is haram too. Are my pretty politicians using alcohol money to power their own political patronage?
In the aftermath of the oil price hike, the Malaysian government have instituted various incentives like:
a) petrol compensation of RM625 for owners of 2.0litre vehicles
b) Fleet oil cards for taxi drivers
c) Upping the requirement for establishments paying service tax from RM500000 to RM3 million.
So in view of helping the common man with policy reprieves, the state should reduce taxation for alcohol products immediately.
Alcohol smuggling is very rampant in Malaysia, and a price adjustment now due to lowering of taxes – irrespective of the reason would help a lot of working Malaysians.
The adjustment would not mean greater alcohol consumption i the long run, but it will bring us to a reasonable par of reason with our immediate neighbours.