The Barisan Nasional (BN) government is urged to empathise with the financial predicament of the general masses and stop the ‘unreasonable’ fuel price hike.
In making the call, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How says the fuel price hike has caused tremendous burden on all households and expects that it will fuel the hike in prices of all essential goods and services.
“It is clear that the federal government is manoeuvring and capitalising on the monthly fuel prices in order to cover the budget shortfalls to keep up with the operating expenditure, many of which are objectionable due to wastages, leakages and misadministration.
“And they seem unperturbed with the financial dilemma the general populace are presently suffering,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.
See, who is state PKR vice chairman, was commenting on the hike in the prices of fuel effective midnight of Feb 1 that saw the retail price of RON95 and RON97 petrol increased by 20 sen to RM2.30 and RM2.60 per litre respectively, while the price of diesel had increased by 10 sen to RM2.15 per litre.
Unlike in Peninsular Malaysia, See said Sarawak’s public transportation infrastructure and facilities are under-developed and lacking, causing Sarawakians to spend a lot on motor gasoline and are badly affected by the fuel price hike.
“Our Chief Minister (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) and his state cabinet colleagues should take opportunity of their federal counterparts streaming into Sarawak to try to be helpful in the Tanjong Datu by-election, to make them aware of our dilemma.
“The price of petrol should be capped and the federal government should grant Sarawak, being the major oil producing state, more funds for the development of the much-needed public transportation infrastructure and facilities.”
According to See, national statistics showed that motor gasoline consumption in Malaysia was 700,000 barrels per day, and 1,300 litres per capita per year or 3.56 litres per day.
He said many Sarawakian families spend more on motor gasoline consumption than the national average households because they have to depend on their own vehicles.
“The 700,000 barrels is 111.3 million litres of petrol. The price hike of 20 sen per litre will mean that Malaysians have to fork out RM22.26 million extra a day and RM8.125 billion a year. For a little household of four members in the family, the 20 sen petrol price will mean that they have to spend an extra RM1,040 a year on petrol.
“But the hike this year is not 20 sen. Last month, the petrol price went up by 15 sen. Even if the present price is maintained, the same household of four members will incur RM1,753 more on petrol this year.
“Malaysians will be made poorer by RM13.55 billion.”
See said the people were yet to be convinced on how the federal government would make good use of the additional revenue for the benefit of all Malaysians, particularly for Sarawak, the oil producing state which is least developed in road and public transportation infrastructure and facilities.
Source : @ Borneo Post Online