Thursday, June 12, 2008


LDP wants effective steps to help low income earners


Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin has urged the Government to draw up effective and comprehensive measures to overcome the current problems affecting the country, in particular the domino effect of the drastic hike in the fuel prices. “I strongly believe that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has the capacity to come up with the solution to the problems affecting the people” he said yesterday. Chin dismissed the recent claim by Petronas that it would go bankrupt if it continues to provide subsidies, as Malaysia is a net oil exporting nation. Towards this end, Petronas has been reaping huge profits each year and as such it is only logical for the company to bear the responsibility in assisting the Government especially during this hard and challenging period, he said in statement. Chin also called on Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad to be more responsible and mindful of the people’s feeling and stop making “inconsistent” statements relating to the fuel price issue. According to Chin, a day before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the steep increase in fuel prices, Shahrir gave an assurance that the price of the commodity would not be increased until the Government reviewed the fuel subsidy in August this year. He said this gave the impression of a lack of communication between the Prime Minister and Shahrir who is holding a very important portfolio dealing with matters, not just the fuel but other goods, that are affecting the people. “By right, Datuk Shahrir should have a good rapport with other members of the Federal Cabinet,” said Chin. On June 7, Shahrir announced that there would be no increase in fuel prices in the near future but two days later he was quoted as saying again that there would be no hike in fuel prices unless the prices in the global market hit the USD200 per barrel, recalled Chin, adding this meant that there would be no fuel price hike until March 2009. “But, in today’s media reports, Datuk Shahrir was quoted assaying that the Government would have to review the fuel prides again. And as at yesterday (June 10), the crude oil price in the global market was at USD135 per barrel and so does this mean that our fuel prices will be increased again by next month (July). “As a Minister, Datuk Shahrir should be more responsible and mindful of the people’s feeling because whatever statement he makes will reflect the Government’s policy. With the present situation, the prices of other goods have also increased and the people are already very unhappy with the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government. “In fact, the Rakyat understand that the increase in fuel prices is a global trend, but what they are not satisfied with is the Government’s sudden action to increase the fuel prices and the percentage is too drastic,” Chin contended. In this regard, Chin suggested that the Government should have come up with a systematic plan to increase the prices of fuel and in giving the subsidy or allowance to the people so that they are not overly burdened with the drastic amount and changes. On the Government’s cash rebate payments to qualified car owners, Chin said the majority of the people are from the lower income group and do not own vehicle and therefore being denied of such subsidy. “The domino effect of fuel price increase will greatly burden the lower income group in view of the increase in the prices of other goods as well,” said Chin, adding that it is therefore timely for the Government to really draw up a policy on the provision of subsidy targeted at the lower income group.