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  Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the Ipoh Protest at the unconscionable oil price increases on Thursday, 5th June 2008 at 11 am: 

Sudden hefty oil price increases creating a seven-hour nation-wide chaos most unconscionable, unjustifiable and deplorable, reflecting poorly on good governance in Malaysia especially after ministerial undertaking that there would be no changes until August

The sudden hefty oil price increases 40.6 per cent and 63.3 per cent increase in pump petrol price and diesel price respectively creating a seven-hour nation-wide chaos is an outrage as it is most unconscionable, unjustifiable and deplorable reflecting poorly on good governance in Malaysia especially after ministerial undertaking that there would be no changes until August.

The introduction of annual cash rebate of RM625 to those who own cars of 2,000 cc and below, and pick-up trucks and jeeps of 2,500 cc and below, and cash rebate of RM150 a year for owners of motor-cycles of 250 cc and below, as well as road tax discounts, will not be able to fully cushion the low and middle-income Malaysians from the inflationary spiral which would be unleashed by the greatest hike in oil prices in the nation's history.

Equally of concern will be the deterioration of the public safety index, with the expected worsening of the crime situation which has already become an endemic problem causing Malaysians, tourists and investors to fear for their personal safety, their loved ones and the safety of property as well!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday:

"We cannot keep subsidising at the current rate. We must reduce wastage. If we can change our lifestyles, we will not suffer a terrible situation."

However, the present government has no credibility in setting an example of "change of lifestyles" in eradicating the parasitic subsidy mentality as it has shown no political will to eliminate the rampant waste, extravagance, abuse of public funds, lack of accountability and corruption rife in the public sector, as illustrated by Malaysia's worsening reputation on corruption whether nationally or internationally, the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bailout scandal, the lack of accountability for the Petronas billions, etc.

In the previous oil price increases in February 2006, the government promised radical improvements in the public transport system but nothing has come out of it.

The Prime Minister and all the Cabinet Ministers owe Malaysians a full and acceptable explanation why they could not fully involve the Malaysian public in the restructuring of the fuel pricing system which is fair and equitable to the low and middle-income Malaysians and done in a competent , professional and accountable manner as to avoid the seven-hour nation-wide chaos yesterday.

Parliament, which ended its meeting last week and would meet again on 23rd June, should have been the forum to decide on the fuel pricing system which is fair, equitable and efficient.

Why was Parliament by-passed altogether by the Cabinet?

The first item of business of the forthcoming parliamentary meeting should be a motion to seek approval of Parliament for the hefty and unconscionable oil price increases yesterday. This motion should be moved by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself.


* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader  & MP for Ipoh Timor

 
 

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