Condemn Price Hike without Parliament

DAP Sarawak condemns the price hike announced by the BN Government on three types of fossil fuels, sugar and cooking gas yesterday.

This is the second time that the federal government had increased sugar prices. On January 1, 2010, sugar prices were increased by RM0.20 per kg.

The price hike is most unacceptable when it was done without approval of Parliament.

Where is the urgency? Why was the hike so urgent that even Parliament was kept in the dark?

Parliament has been sitting for 6 weeks. If the Prime Minister has justifiable reasons to hike the price of these basic necessities, he should inform Parliament and let elected wakil rakyat debate on his proposal.

There is no reason for the BN Government to announce price hike on the last day of Parliamentary sitting so that the MPs do not have the opportunity to debate against it.

The fact that Parliament was not even informed shows that the BN Government is not confident to face the wakil rakyat from the Pakatan Rakyat.

It is most regretful that the Prime Minister has taken the people for granted.

The economy is still bleak. Malaysian people are still feeling the pinch that “there is not enough money” in their pockets.

The price hike on the 5 essential commodities will have devastating effect on the economy. What follows will be a spiral of inflation which will require the rakyat to tighten their belts.

The BN Government claims it is a price adjustment rather than a price hike. There is no legitimate reason for playing this semantic. The Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak claims that the price adjustment will save the Government RM750 million in subsidies this year. The ultimate effect is to require the rakyat to pay more.

The poor folks will be most affected. Sarawak and Sabah will be the most affected states. This is because almost all prices are already higher for goods consumed in Sarawak and Sabah.

Sarawak and Sabah produces more than half of the oil for Malaysia. Yet, Sarawak and Sabah have to pay high price for oil. This is ridiculous.

Is this the reward given to Sarawak and Sabah for being the “fixed deposits” for the BN Government?

Obviously, the BN Government has not heeded the trend of the by-elections results of late in the country, including the latest by-election of Sibu.

Instead of hiking price the Government should take measures to combat corruption, leakages and wastage. These are the principal reasons for the price hike. It is not the subsidy savings.

DAP Sarawak strongly condemns the BN Government’s effort to victimize the rakyat, and to “operate” on the pockets of the rakyat for the BN’s failed crusade against corruption due to lack of political will.

DAP Sarawak strongly believes that the rakyat should not be victimized to pay more, just because of the wastage and leakages and corruption by the BN leaders.

As a lame justification, the BN Government told the people that they have to change their livestyles. DAP does not believe that this is justification for the price hike.

The BN Government should not expect the people to change their lifestyles when they do not have sufficient income to make ends meet.

On the other hand, it is the BN Government which is indulging in lavish spending. It is the BN Government that should change its style of governance and cut unnecessary expenditures.

One most prominent lavish spending occurs in the expansion of the civil service. The BN Government should cut the size of the civil service and improve its efficiency.

Taiwan’s population is similar to ours, 28 million. Taiwan has only 530,000 civil servants. Malaysia has 1.2 million civil servants. Yet, its civil service is incomparable to Taiwan. Japan has 120 million population. Yet, Japan has 380,000 civil servants. Its civil service is world renowned.

Forcing consumers to tighten their belts without the government undergoing an austerity drive will be meaningless.

Apart from combating corruption, unnecessary projects can be shelved to save money instead of burdening the rakyat. The BN’s intention to build a new Parliament at Putrajaya for RM800 million, building a new palace for RM800 million, buying submarines which cannot submerge worth RM7 billion and which are unnecessary are examples of unnecessary expenditures.

The people in Sarawak should speak out loudly against the BN Government in the coming state election.

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