Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Move to further raise fuel prices very disappointing: CASH


The statement from Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad that fuel prices will go up this August is very disappointing, especially to the people of Sabah, said Consumers Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) President, Datuk Patrick Sindu yesterday. “The announcement by the Minister on Monday has heightened people’s worry and I believe, Sabahans especially, are very disappointed and frustrated over the situation,” he said. Sindu said the statement came even though during the election time the Government had said that they would not increase the fuel prices. “I am so sad over this move, and I hope the Government will consider not to raise the prices, as this would prompt public transport operators for example to raise their fares.” “This will become another burden to the public especially those in the lower income group.” Sindu urged consumers to spend wisely as there are no other people who can help them except themselves in the face of escalating cost of living. In a move that could drive up inflation, Shahrir said on Monday that pump prices for petrol and diesel will be raised in August but subsidies will remain for the poor. According to him, although the fuel prices would go up, the subsidies would continue to be enjoyed by the people based on requirement instead of usage. While most people would moan and groan over the Government’s move to further raise fuel prices by August with the implementation of a new subsidy structure, David Withers, who heads the operations support of Thunder Cranes (L) Ltd, an offshore modular crane company that has an office in Labuan, reacted quite differently. “When a country cuts its Government subsidy programs, it forces that country’s market to compete on a global scale,” he said “This is necessary for a country whose slogan is Wawasan 2020. It will be good for Malaysian companies to have to compete without Big Brother.” Withers said however that his main concern is how it would affect his local employees and the lower income earners. He said he is planning to buy a new car and with the spiraling cost of petrol, he is seriously thinking about getting one that runs on alternative fuel. Jenny Sim, an accounts executive, said it is high time that the Government seriously looks into the need to improve the state of public transport service in Sabah to encourage more people to travel by bus and train, as well as perhaps a Light Rail Transit vehicle. Sim said the Government’s plan to further cut subsidies and raise fuel prices would have serious effect on the quality of life of most Sabahans. She said very few people would not feel the huge burden of having to pay double or triple the current fuel prices, and that is what she envisaged based on the statement issued by Shahrir.