Catching Up

ICYMI: Smokers Have To Smoke At Home And Cabbies Hit The Streets

  • VP Hot Takes is our weekly roundup of tech and digital lifestyle news in Malaysia.
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M’sian Smokers Up In Arms As They Can’t Puff At Their Favourite Mamaks

The recent proposal by the Health Ministry to gazette all eateries as smoke-free places was met with heated discussion in social media.

By the end of 2018, smokers will no longer be allowed to light up at any indoor or outdoor eateries. Smokers and sympathisers may profess their objections to this proposal, but the fact is, smoke-free public places, including at all eateries, would benefit all, including smokers themselves.

In this day and age, nobody is denying that smoking is harmful. The government has taken this up a notch by walking the talk as they have made Parliament a smoke-free zone too. Authorities actually went around Parliament issuing eight compounds to those caught puffing away in the premises, one of them was a member of parliament who was not named.

Even after the backlash by several MPs who were obviously smokers themselves, our Health Minister stood by the decision to make Parliament smoke-free but agreed that a temporary space outside the building would be provided for smokers.

Dale John Wong
This will no doubt piss-off a large number of smokers, but I think it’s the right call and they’ll eventually grow to adapt. I can only hope now that this ruling is strictly enforced, otherwise it’ll just be a case of form over function.
Justin Lee
As an anti-smoking advocate, I can say that I support this move as I’ve had enough of holding my breath when cigarette smoke is blown to my face. If smokers want to smoke, go find somewhere else where there’s nobody but you!
Venxhin Pang
The funniest part about all this has been a certain MP comparing the right to smoke to LGBT rights. However, I don’t deny that people who want to smoke should be provided a designated spot (far away from non-smokers, thanks).
Nicholas Ker
I’ll say this from the perspective of an ex-smoker: I know how inconsiderate smokers can be with smoking in secluded areas. I’m all for the smoking ban, I just hope that people don’t see this as a weapon to bash smokers with.
Topics Of The Week

Image Credit: Ilya Plekhanov

M’sian Taxi Drivers Still Exist As They Protest Against Grab Yet Again

Taxi drivers are still in business despite the abundance of e-hailing apps out there. However, they are out in force again with more than 100 taxi drivers protesting outside the Ministry of Finance in Putrajaya on Wednesday after it was reported that the government may work with ride-hailing firm Grab to provide transport services at MRT stations.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke assured the cabbies on Wednesday that his ministry has no plans to replace feeder buses with ride-hailing services at MRT stations. He said Tony Pua’s statement was “just a proposal”, just like all our policies are just a ‘proposal’.

Nicholas Ker
Again? I understand that ride-hailing services have a major effect on taxi drivers’ jobs, but is this what you do when a competitor offers a better product than you do? How about improving your own offering? Should we start striking if other publications get better feedback than we do? Should we shatter their car windows as well?

Image Credit: Unsplash/ John Cameron

M’sia Not A Dumping Ground Anymore For NZ, Australia And UK’s Unwanted Plastics

Malaysia has become a dumping ground for New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom to dispose of plastic waste. This happened after China who had accepted 50% of the world’s plastic waste, banned plastic imports in the beginning of the year.

The Malaysian government has made an effort to ensure that Malaysia does not end up as the “developed nations’ plastic trash bin” by shutting down more than 30 illegal plastic recycling factories. They did not just shut them down but also cut their electricity, water supply and arrested the factory owners.

Dale John Wong
There’s really no silver lining to this problem. While our government has already addressed the issue, I feel that we could do with being a bit more firm on the matter. I don’t know how it’d work out economically, but maybe we could follow China and level a complete ban on plastic waste altogether?

Image Credit: Unsplash/ rawpixel

Prices Of 70% Of Goods Surveyed Have Gone Down Thanks To SST

According to Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister Chong Chieng Jen, an analysis of price changes was done, comparing average prices between May and September this year. On the whole, 70% or the prices of 291 items was reduced, while 27% or 115 items saw prices increasing and three percent or 11 of items saw no changes in prices.

146 notices were issued to traders that were suspected of profiteering, of which about 100 had flouted regulations, however every Malaysian out there can pretty much agree that we’ve seen more prices increasing than decreasing especially in eateries.

Justin Lee
Hmm, although I do agree that certain prices have gone down, eateries such as mamaks and hawkers haven’t reduced their prices accordingly. Only the big establishments have adjusted their prices but what about the rest? Where is the enforcement on this? As a consumer I’ve yet to see the benefits of SST.

Image Credit: Unsplash/ rawpixel

E-Commerce Players Not Looking Forward Towards M’sian Digital Tax

The Malaysian government has come up with another way to make more money by introducing digital taxes. The rationale behind the tax is aimed at leveling the playing field between international and local businesses in the digital sector. Currently, global digital businesses often avoid paying taxes in Malaysia due to the reason that the companies have no physical presence in the country.

Some sour grapes have commented that the introduction of the tax will add an extra layer of taxation which could lead to a price increase of online goods and services for all players. So in the end, I guess the consumers still have to pay the price.

Venxhin Pang
Like many other initiatives from the new gov (and even the old), all these announcements generally sound great on paper. Execution? Hmm. As one of “the people”, all I can think is, “Great, more taxes…”

Feature Image Credit: Toodia.my

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