Friday June 6, 2008
Yong: Fuel price hike may result in serious political fallout
KOTA KINABALU: The rise in fuel prices may result in a serious political fallout for the Barisan Nasional government, a Sabah component leader warned yesterday.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee wondered whether the overall consequences of the fuel subsidy cuts had been carefully considered.
He said the immediate reaction to the price increase among Sabahans was that of despair.
“If a government loses the goodwill of the people, then it will find them even more difficult to govern,” Yong, a former chief minister, told reporters here.
He said political parties, elected representatives and civil servants were likely to feel more pressure from the people to “do something” to ease their economic woes.
He said the fuel price increase had come almost immediately after people were finding they had to pay more for some types of rice, adding that those most affected were the low- and middle-income earners.
“For those who have just been earning enough to make ends meet every month, the fuel price increase will be a serious blow as they will have to pay more at the petrol pump and when they buy groceries,” Yong said.
He said even middle-income earners with salaries of between RM4,000 and RM5,000 would be reeling from the effects of the price hike.
Yong also doubted the impact of the RM625 rebate for vehicle owners and RM125 for motorcyclists as there was a time lapse between when money was spent on the fuel and when they would receive their rebate.
He said many people continued to question why Malaysia, as a net petroleum exporting nation, was experiencing a negative impact from a spike in global oil prices.
“The man in the street is puzzled as to why ordinary folks are losing out when Petronas is making so much money,” he added.