Both Anwar and Mukhriz against sudden hike in fuel price

I guess one would never have imagined that one of Mahathir’s sons would be in agreement with Anwar on anything. Well, the day has come. And they are both against Pak Lah’s decision to increase the retail fule prices, which will cause a domino effect, and the people can “look forward” to having to pay higher prices for almost everything.

Anwar’s press statement:

Rakyat dibebankan dengan kenaikan keterlaluan! Rakyat pastinya dirundung kehidupan rumit. Bermula dari harga minyak, menjalar ka bil letrik, tertekan parah dengan kos pengangkutan dan harga barang keperluan lainnya.

Arakian subsidi minyak dikurangkan, tetapi persoalannya keuntungan PETRONAS yang jenuh melimpah tertiris dan bocor kemana? Tidak ada pertanggungjawaban waima kapada Parlimen sekalipun.

Yang arif mengenai kedudukan kewangan PETRONAS hanya Perdana Menteri dan yang terserlah adalah projek mega dan koridor!

Rakyat bukan sahaja dinafikan maklumat malah limpahan dan habuan dari khazanah utama negara tidak dirasakan. Kemenfaatannya adalah buat keluarga dan kroni yang sekonyong-konyong dianugerah kontrak dan projek. Inilah yang kami sering ungkapkan sebagai pengurusan ekonomi yang lembab dan tidak bertanggungjawab!

Amalan hidup pimpinan negara terus boros, pembaziran dan rasuah terus berleluasa. Justeru itu kami membantah keras dasar Kerajaan UMNO-BN yang mengabaikan tanggungjawab dan membebankan rakyat. Satelah gagal mengurus ekonomi dan menjamin keselesaan hidup rakyat, pimpinan UMNO-BN seharusnya berundur!

Saya ulangi pendirian saya dan Pakatan Rakyat untuk menurunkan harga minyak dan meletakkan asas ekonomi manusiawi. Dasar tsb harus menjurus kepada pertumbuhan segar dan pantas, namun tetap prihatin terhadap kehidupan rakyat.

Anwar Ibrahim

This was taken from Din Merican’s blog here.

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This, is what Mukhriz had to say:

Saya rasa terkejut dengan pengumuman memeranjatkan yang dibuat Perdana Menteri Malaysia YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengenai kenaikan harga minyak mendadak dan tanpa amaran semalam.

Pada hemat saya, masanya amatlah tidak sesuai untuk tindakan ini diambil dengan cara ini, walaupun kita sedar masalah minyak global harus ditangani diperingkat negara juga.

Saya kira, lebih wajar kenaikan ini dibuat secara berperingkat mengikut jadual yang diumumkan terlebih dahulu, untuk mengelakan ketidak tentuan dan keresahan, seperti mana yang berlaku sekarang ini. Rakyat perlu masa dan peluang untuk menyesuaikan dengan kenaikan yang begitu tinggi itu. Apapun, keputusan ini memberikan kesan kepada rakyat, termasuk golongan peniaga dan pedagang kerana ketidak ketentuan yang berlaku dan menyukarkan mereka untuk merancang.

Kerajaan tidak harus mengunakan alasan masalah ini ialah masalah global kerana setiap negara mempunyai situasi dan keadaan berbeza. Apa yang berjaya ditempat lain, tidak semestinya berjaya untuk sistem kita. Kita mempunyai masalah dan cara penyelesaian kita sendiri. Sebagai contohnya, sewaktu Malaysia mengumumkan kawalan matawang dan modal serta Ringgit Malaysia ditetapkan nilai (peg) kepada US Dollar pada 3 September 1998, tindakan itu dikecam pelbagai pihak diperingkat dalam negara dan antarabangsa kerana dianggap tidak konvensyenal. Akhirnya, ianya terbukti berkesan kepada menyelesaikan masalah krisis ekonomi negara dan Malaysia sebaliknya menerima pelbagai pujian dan pengiktirafan kepada tindakan ‘diluar kotak’ tersebut.

Saya terkilan dengan kenyataan YAB Perdana Menteri sebelum ini mengesa rakyat untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan cara hidup berbeza sebagai reaksi kepada kenaikan harga minyak dan kos sara hidup yang meningkat. Rata rata, rakyat dipendalaman, termasuk kawasan Jerlun yang saya wakili, menyara hidup secara ‘kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang’. Sejauh mana lagi mereka perlu menyesuaikan diri, setelah berlaku kos sara hidup yang dijangkakan meningkat pada tahap terlalu membebankan kepada golongan ini.

This was taken from BigDog’s blog here.

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Both of them have very different affililations. And they are both coming at the issue from different, if not opposite sides. But they share one common comment on this whole fuel fiasco. And that is that they both are of the opinion that it will add further burden to the people, especially those of low income.

Which is true. This hike in fuel price is going to cause a whole lot of other things to justify their increase in price as well.

But is this price hike necessary? I think it is. I think continuous subsidy is just going to mislead the public even more about energy efficiency, and create a false sense of security. This blanket has been there for far too long. Malaysians are a pampered lot.

In Anwar’s statement, he reiterated that when Pakatan Rakyat come to power, they will reduce fuel prices. Although Din’s comment has thrown some light on this for me, I still have my doubts about it.

For me, changes take time. If say Pakatan Rakyat were to form the Federal Government today, I cannot see how they can manage to bring the price of fuel down the very next day. In all my knowledge, I don’t see how they can do this. Din has explained that with a clean government, with efficiency, with transparency, with the people’s interest taking top priority, it can happen.

I don’t doubt this. I believe that with a good government, it is feasible to imagine that fuel prices don’t have to balloon this much. In fact, it can only be with good governance that inflation can be curbed.

But change doesn’t happen overnight. So I hold my right to be slightly doubtful of Anwar’s promise.

That being said, it can also be concluded that the present government is not doing very well in dealing with this whole price increase issue. Although I think it is necessary for fuel prices to go up, this does not translate very well when people start thinking with their wallets and not their heads. The people are not ignorant. They know that the price would have to increase. But what they would have liked was to know where exactly the savings are going to go. And when nothing can be seen as a  result of previous hikes, the people cannot be blamed when they feel cheated of something that “belongs” to them.

The people being angry is one thing though. Having politicians take the street in protest is quite another. When the people get angry and take the streets, it is because their representatives are not speaking up for them. I don’t want to justify street protests, bu that is the reality of it.

Politicians, however, are a different story. They have a voice, be it in the government, or in Parliament, or even through the media. They have a voice that will be heard. I don’t think they should be egging the people on to protest on the streets, or to take stand in front of government offices.

Whether they like it or not, they are constantly under scrutiny. And to have politicians stage themselves in front of government offices like some Tom, Dick or Harry is just not becoming of someone who is to lead the people and the nation.


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