by Jonathan Chia, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on October 4, 2014, Saturday
KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) claims that the government has failed to honour its 2013 General Election manifesto in ‘easing the cost of living’ when it increased the price of RON95 petrol and diesel by 20 sen per litre Thursday.
Its women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni said even though prices of petrol and diesel were not mentioned in the manifesto, the government must understand that any increase in the prices of the two commodities would have a domino effect on the prices of goods in the market.
“When the prices of petrol and diesel are increased, it will result in higher operation cost for companies to transport their goods. The cost will certainly be passed to the end-users, which will definitely increase the people’s cost of living,” she told a press statement yesterday.
Voon, who is PKR Stampin branch vice-chairperson, was commenting on the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism announcement that the fuel subsidy for RON95 petrol and diesel would be reduced by 20 sen per litre effective yesterday.
Following the reduced subsidy, consumers will have to pay 20 sen more per litre. The new retail price of RON95 petrol is RM2.30 per litre, and diesel RM2.20 per litre.
She believed the increase in the prices of RON95 petrol and diesel announced on Wednesday was the first wave, adding that the second wave of increase would be enforced when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented in April next year.
“To the people, the reduction of subsidy by the government for petrol and diesel seems to be a solution to meet the means of packaging the national budget which will be delivered middle of this month.”
Voon said the people were gravely disappointed with the insensitivity of the government in continuing to bleed the people who have already found it very difficult to cope with the ever increasing cost of living.
“More than 80 per cent of workers in the country are living on salaries below RM4,500 per month while about half of the number are living under RM2,000 per month. Can they cope with the rising cost of living?”
Voon said she did not see any point in the reduction of subsidy for petrol and diesel, if it was meant to accommodate the upcoming national budget such as to finance the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) handouts, as cash handouts would not bring long term benefit for the people.
“It was reported that about RM3 billion can be saved every year by reducing the subsidy of 20 sen for petrol and diesel this time. If it is disputed that the savings are a move to sustain the upcoming national budget, the government should enlighten us on how the extra savings are going to be used.”
She said with a soaring national debt of about RM600 billion, the people had the right to know where the reduction of subsidy would be channelled to.
“And if there is a need to reduce the petrol and diesel subsidy to sustain a good national budget, then it means that our country is seeing red over our financial status. We may also plunge into a crisis which the people are not aware of yet.”
Voon said it was important for the government to be transparent and be accountable of how public funds were used to curb further leakages and wastages as the people were not convinced as to “why they need to pay for more and more each day”.
Meanwhile, Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said it was clearly paradoxical that for an oil producing country like Malaysia, the nation was having problem with prices of petrol and diesel.
“We have billions (of ringgit) from Petronas yearly but the money goes to the wrong hands. That’s our problem. Well, as long as BN is the ruling party, the prices of goods will continue to increase.”