| January 1, 2014
Pakatan Rakyat has largely kept silent and a low profile over the series of price hikes announced by the government in recent months.
Last Saturday, the Minister for Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Hasan Malek was reported as saying: “We don’t control the prices, the consumer does”.
This is pure nonsense statement. Do we, the consumers, decide how much XYZ brand of soap will cost?
But then he is certainly not the first Barisan Nasional minister to talk rubbish.
It is obvious that the government administration is full of buffoons.
Currently the issue of price hikes is the hottest topic.
A street survey conducted by this columnist revealed that people are worried about the price of RON95 petrol increasing again in the very near future.
The manufacturers too are beginning to complain that the petrol and electricity hikes will make life difficult for them. Thus the production cost will be passed on to us, the consumers and our pockets will be under serious assault.
Can we refrain from buying things like detergent or soap? Even the cheapest brands on the shelf will see its price going up due to the increase in production costs.
All these increases are happening even before GST (Goods & Services Tax) is implemented.
And the Domestic Trade Minister has the gall to say that the consumers decide the pricing!
For the cronies, the year 2014 is going to be a very happy one as they will be reaping bountiful profits.
But for the ordinary citizens, especially the low-income group, it is going to be a tough year due to the endless price hikes.
What is already up as a result of the petrol and power hikes are prices of raw and cooked food, groceries.
Najib’s empty promises
It must be potentially crippling because even a former Prime Minister has said that price hikes should be carried out in stages.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s grandiose plans of seeing the nation achieve its 2020 vision going bust is one thing, but now we the citizens are left holding the empty bag.
Now is the time to question Najib on his election promises.
What happened to his promise to reduce toll charges in stages? Is he a promise-keeper or a promise-breaker?
Price hikes aside, the Ringgit is also falling in value against the British Pound and the Singapore Dollar.
It is now RM5.40 for one pound sterling and over RM2.60 for one Singapore dollar.
Where are Najib’s economic advisers now?
Says Changkat Jering assemblyman Nizar Jamaluddin: “It is very obvious that Najib does not know anything about how to manage the nation’s finance and economics.
“Crime rate is also high and dengue fever has increased 100%. The nation is in shambles.
“Najib can say and spin what he likes but the truth of the matter is that his Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) have gone bust.”
His colleague Khalid Samad, PAS’ Shah Alam MP concurs.
“The truth is the rakyat has been duped into voting for a group of evil professional hate-mongers who also double up as perception-creators and quack economists,” said Khalid.
Nizar and Khalid’s observations aside, the opposition has kept largely quiet, with Pakatan Rakyat keeping a low profile.
Why is this so? Isn’t it time for the opposition to slam this price-hike tsunami as being too excessive?
The opposition must come out strongly to condemn these price hikes.
We have had successive price hike announcements post GE13.
First there was the petrol and diesel hike in September, followed by sugar in October, increase in assessment for the KL folks and then came the announcement of new electricity and toll rates.
The last three hikes comes into effect today.
Other anticipated hikes in 2014 could include Quit Rent, IWK sewerage charges, cooking gas, public transport, road tax and car insurance.
The government must stop making life more difficult for the average joe.
The BN government must put a stop to price hikes with immediate effect.
There should be no more price hikes starting from today and Malaysians from all walks of life must request that the government spend prudently.
Be warned of stormy days ahead.
Having said this, here’s wishing all readers and FMT staff Happy New Year and a good year ahead.