• Madani Sahari

AGE OF INFORMATION - Working together towards nation's development

The current age of digital broadcasting allows anyone to voice an opinion at the click of a button.

While it is a celebration of the expansion of our democratic rights as citizens, the sheer volume of information has changed the landscape of how we perceive certain issues.

On social media, the news sent to end users are based on algorithms that depend on trending information, giving significant advantage to sensationalist marketing techniques and those with significant online presence and influencer capabilities.

The age of information poses the highest levels of misinformation ever seen.

To progress through the current uncertain economy, we must allow ourselves the space to move out of headline-based reading to look at issues holistically, and address the issues more specifically.

Last year, we recorded a gross national income per capita of US$9,850 (RM40,188), inching closer to within 19 per cent of the US$12,235 set by the World Bank as high-income nation status.

Overall, the median household income for all groups of bottom 40, middle 40, and top 20 increased last year by 6.6, 6.9 and 6.2 per cent, respectively, versus 204.

MasterCard also predicts that Malaysia is expected to record the highest ratio in outbound travel in relation to the total number of households with 198.7 per cent by 2021 from 178.4 per cent last year.

These are a few of many indications that Malaysia's economy is creating opportunities for income generation.

Agreed, there are problems that need to be addressed as any economic uncertainty will cause public anxiety about cost of living, business bottom line and career opportunities.

However, unnecessarily negative outlooks are counterproductive when taken in a general sense.

Sensational angles have the power to alter perceptions - mismatching symptoms to root causes that have nothing to do with the problem at hand.

Generalist approaches to complex matters kill any chance to address real concerns as solution need to be specific to the nuances of the problem.

To fairly address the economic situation, it is important to recognise those who are truly in need of assistance based on factors, such as geolocation, career prospects and education levels, in order to better understand barriers of access to opportunities that offer upward economic mobility.

While there are valid grouses that require addressing, some problems can also be self-inflicted.

While household dept to gross domestic product ratios have eased last year, a worrying trend of bankruptcy cases is emerging among the middle class - 60 per cent of insolvency cases are among aged 25 to 44 over the last three years.

In order to climb the economic ladder, it is important for us to be mindful of our expenditure.

In order to further enhance our standard of living, something we all want - we must put ourselves in situations that provide us the opportunity to move up.

Numerous government programmes have been instituted to bridge income gaps and move those less fortunate.

Quality job prospects and ample business opportunities have been created to spur economic growth and elevate the lives of Malaysians as a whole.

However, this elevation is not possible if these opportunities  are not met with competitive spirit, prudence and resilience to lifestyle fads.

Let us look at problems specifically and objectively. Itis often easy to dwell on popular perceptions.

However, true responsibility lies in working together towards our nation's development.

We all have different means and resources available to us, it is important to use them wisely to elevate and influence others towards true  progress.

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