Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 11th October 2008:
Najib should suspend all Umno commitments for the rest of the weekend and “burn midnight oil” to table a revised 2009 Budget in Parliament on Monday incorporating new lowered pricing for petrol as world crude oil has plunged below US$78 per barrel
For the past month, two questions have obsessed Malaysians.
The first has been answered, viz: whether Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will bow down to pressures from inside Umno for a quick exit as Prime Minister by announcing that he would not defend the post of Umno President in the forthcoming Umno General Assembly.
The second question, still awaiting answer,
is whether the government could respond nimbly to the rapid fall in
world crude prices to undo its unconscionable 41% hike in fuel prices in
June which had kicked off a relentless inflationary spiral hitting a
World oil prices have plummeted to a one-year low below US$78 a barrel, but the price of petrol is RM2.45 or reduced by a mere 25 sen in two reductions.
This is clearly unacceptable and the situation is not made any more palatable with the statement yesterday by the Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad of the possibility that the price of petrol reverting to the old price of RM1.92 a litre if world crude oil price continues to dip below US$72 per barrel.
What Malaysians want is immediate action.
Last night, at the DAP Rasah dinner, I had
called on Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has become
the Finance Minister, to present a revised 2009 Budget when Parliament
reconvenes on Monday, as the 2009 Budget presented by Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on August 29 had been overtaken by economic events
in the past six weeks – in particular the looming financial meltdown
which has already precipitated a US$700 billion bailout , compared to
the 1929 Great Depression and wiped out RM57 billion market
capitalisation from the local bourse this week.
This is Najib’s first challenge as Finance Minister – to demonstrate that he is on top of his new task as Finance Minister and not be accused of being a latter-day Nero of “fiddling while Rome burns”.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor