In the video by the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), the 23-year-old law graduate, who only identified herself as Zahra, told the deputy prime minister how she had grown increasingly disappointed and angry that the life she is living was not what she had envisioned as a student."
In the much-shared video (below), she said she had envisioned big pay and a comfortable life as soon as she graduated but after working for just two years, she finds that she, as a bumiputra Malay is living like a "Pendatang di Tanah Air sendiri".
An immigrant in her own homeland.
Besides sounding suspiciously like a PKR ceramah, she listed a bunch of complaints of her self-admitted "tortured" life which includesShe says that despite all these, "Nama saya Zahra, Saya Sayangkan Malaysia.:"
- She is a Bachelor of Law graduate from a local University that is not recognized by Govt and living in high-cost Kuala Lumpur
- She does not own a car but has to pay her dad RM500 per month to use his car
- During the end of the month, she could no longer afford to drive and "terpaksa" (forced) to use the LRT and she is ashamed of this as it is supposed to be her taking care of her parents and not the other way round
- She has to pay RM500 per month to crowd (berhempit) in with 7 other persons in her rented place.
- She cannot afford to buy her own home in the Melawati or Ampang areas until she has RM9,000 per month income at least
- She cannot afford the RM15,000 fees to go on a course to qualify her as a full lawyer
- She is afraid that if her parents have health problems, she will not be able to bear the financial burden
- She says she may need to marry a rich husband to get out of her "financial trap"
- She says the future is bleak and dark for "anak-anak Melayu" who is the future of Malaysia
- She is disappointed and angry.
Wow, such a sad life she has.
Two years after graduation and she is living like it is hell in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. And you have a job too - unlike many of your peers in Europe and the USA.
But not so fast, you should realize you're not really living in hell. I don't know of how many countries in the world that a graduate with a place to stay and a car to drive can be considered a beggar.
However, I do believe Zahra has bad financial planning, got her priorities wrong and quite unrealistic expectations.
No govt on earth promises you that you will own a car and a house at the age of 23 years old and just two years into your working adult life.
In fact, the average age where people buy their first home is nowhere near as young as 23 years old.
In China, the average Chinese city dweller takes on their first mortgage at the age of 27, far earlier than their counterparts overseas, according to a 2010 study by Everbright Bank.
The average first-time home buyer in Canada is 29 years old, according to a study by the Bank of Montreal published in April, while in Britain, the average age is 35, according to a survey by Post Office Mortgages published in September last year.
And the average age of Taiwan's first-time homebuyers is 38 years.
Even in supposedly high wages and more equal USA, the average age of the first-time homebuyer is from 31, rising to between 32 and 34 within the next few years.Therefore, her lamenting she cannot afford to buy a house now at the age of 23 is very unrealistic.
As you can see from the world-wide averages, even if you are a Bumiputra or Anak Melayu muda, it does not automatically grant you an entitlement that you will own a car and house at your age and at your stage of your working career.
No government on earth can promise and deliver you that.
Despite that fact that I am not bumiputra, I too did not own a car and house in my name at 23 years old and only did many years later.
However, she has every right to worry. and she does indeed worry a lot .She is afraid she may never get a salary of RM9,000 per month salary.
Well Zahra, relax. You are pleasant-looking, a law graduate and speak well. With a few years of experience in the legal profession, with the right qualification and hard work, I am confident you will make a lot more than RM9,000 per month.
No need to worry. Just be patient and please be optimistic in life. Cheer up!
Instead of criticizing you for your false sense of entitlement, I'd like to offer an alternative how you can improve your life.
PLAN AND TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIVE.
Based on available surveys, it appears that the average Salary for Junior Executives in the legal services line appears to be RM3,396.
As part of introducing GST, the govt also moved up the band where income tax is collected to above RM4,000 per month - hence government no longer charges you income tax. ZERO! Already you are in a better position than many other graduates around the world.
You could be getting less than the average for your line and probably could be earning in the RM2500 to RM3,000 per month range - but my advice has nothing to do with your current salary.
Firstly, you car.
I noticed that you said towards the end of the month, you would be so poor that you are "forced" to use LRT and embarrassed about this situation.
This means the existing LRT lines already serve your purpose but for some reason, you still prefer to drive and waste time, parking costs, petrol costs and being caught in numerous traffic jams.
Why would you say "terpaksa" to use LRT? What is so bad about LRT that you have to be forced to use it?
There's nothing to be ashamed of in taking the LRT or public transport. Bankers, tycoons, professionals take them too. Maybe you' might even get lucky and meet your future rich husband and soul-mate there ?
On top of your RM500 per month "payment" for your car, you would easily spend another RM100 for parking costs, RM50 for car maintenance and RM200 per month for petrol - a total of RM850 per month.
1) First thing to do is to give back your car to your parents and ask them to sell it.
One worry solved already. And your parents now have some excess cash that they can then use in case of your parents' health emergencies.
Get the My Rapid Integrated RM150 per month season pass (if she just wants to use LRT only, it would be RM100 per month) which allows her unlimited travel on all RAPID buses, monorail and trains within Klang Valley anytime she wants to.
SAVINGS GAINED: RM850 - RM150 = RM700 per month more money in your purse.
In just 5 months, If you really really really wanted a car, you would have enough money to pay the down-payment for a brand new Perodua Axia G Automatic and pay the RM345 monthly installment (instead of having to RM500 previously).
There, another worry solved. You could own your own car - in just 5 months and STILL be paying less money per month.
But don't do this as a car is a depreciating asset and costly. At this moment in your life, you have other priorities.
It's already so jammed in Kuala Lumpur so I hope you don't buy a car - unless absolutely necessary.
There is a reason why the govt is spending more than a hundred billion ringgit to build LRT1 and LRT2 extensions, LRT3, MRT1, MRT2 and MRT3, the BTS and buying so many new buses and train sets - to encourage people to use public transport instead of driving.
2) the RM15,000 professional course to qualify you to be a lawyer.To me, this isn't even a problem at all. There are so many places you can ask for a loan. You could go to MARA or you could go to the Banks (see this loan from MayBank) or you could even go to MCA's Kojadi - which offers study loans regardless of race.
RM15,000 is not that much for a study loan and I simply do not envision you not being able to get that loan - especially since you are already a graduate and working.
Did you try? Did you try hard enough to get the form and apply?
In the very unlikely scenario that you face problems getting this loan, I am sure MTEN and DPM Muhyiddin can help you - especially with your new found fame.
These loans don't require you to start paying back immediately and repayment typically start months or one year after you have completed them - therefore, not much impact on your current cashflow.
There, another problem solved. Just make sure you pick a QUALIFIED course this time and once completed, you can qualify to be admitted to the BAR (lawyer BAR not pubs) and become a practicing lawyer - which will mean a big jump in salary easily.
And hence two more worries solved - your expected RM9,000 per month salary and your RM15,000 course problem.
3) Your current RM500 room rental and having to crush with seven other tenants.
This is one of the easiest to solve - you just have to go online to find better and cheaper alternatives.
To save you time, I have helped you find alternatives.
How about staying in a three bedroom condo with Covered Parking, Playground, Swimming Pool, Tennis Court, 24hr Security instead?
Yup. This is available at just RM850 per month rental partly furnished.
Although small at 895 sq. ft, it does seem a nice place with three bedrooms which you can take up and share equally with two other persons. Assuming utilities of RM200 per month, the entire cost comes up to RM1,050 per month for three persons - or RM350 per person per month.
And since you have the MyRapid integrated season pass, you could easily take a bus from there too before connecting to the LRT and onward to your office.
If you don't like this place, you can always search around.
Since you are connected via LRT and bus via your MyRapid card, there are so many places that will fit your needs and budget with affordable rentals too - after all, this is going to be temporary accommodation until you buy your very own place or as you said, marry a rich husband.
Just don't be too picky for the moment. Compromise a bit.
Another immediate problem solved and you get your own bedroom and staying in a nicer place with condo facilities and save money too.
SAVINGS GAINED: RM500 - RM350 = RM150 per month more money in your purse.
4) Finally buying your very own house.From the savings in 103, you will get:
Total Savings gained car and rental: RM700 + RM150 = RM850 per month
Or RM30,600 after three years.
And assuming now you have worked 5 years and at average salary of RM3,000 per month, you and your company would be contributing RM720 per month to your EPF and hence would have RM12,960 in your EPF account 2.
By the time three years have passed, you will have these:
- at least RM30,600 savings
- EPF account 2 of RM12,960
- a salary of at least RM5,000 per month (low for a qualified lawyer).
- whatever you saved from your yearly bonus (but we are not counting this.
Hence by that time, you have enough to pay down payment and a high enough income to buy a condominium of at least RM300k - RM 400k in price and being able to afford RM1200 to RM1,500 per month installments.
There are many reasonable apartments and condominiums still on the market today. All you have to do is to do a little hunting online.
For example, all these decent 3 bedroom ones between 995 to 1115 sq feet in the Melawati area that you wanted are still available :
Even if the cheapest one at RM220k doubles in price three years from now, which is highly unlikely, you can still afford it with your savings and salary then.
You can then be a landlord and rent out your extra two bedrooms and use that money to pay for your new car's monthly installments.
By this time, you would be 26 years old.
Not bad: Owning a house and a car in the Kuala Lumpur city at the ripe old age of 26 years old - way ahead of the average first-time house owner around the world.
All problems solved. All your worries dissipated.
Or, you could simply marry a rich husband, as you said.
Here's a video advertisement on how to do this:
Maybe we should stop complaining and stop having a false sense of entitlement. That is the job of the dead or pengsan Pakatan Rakyat and not your job.
Plan and take control of your life. Have an optimistic outlook and execute your plan.
Millions of people have survived and prospered in the Klang Valley and so can you, Miss Zahra.
Footnote: Since this article was posted, it has been found that Zahra is in fact an employee of MTEM itself. It is highly unethical for MTEM not to disclose this fact as it makes the event scripted.
Perhaps it was MTEM themselves who needs to pay their own employee better?