Kerosene price increase: DAP deplores
Another essential item which concerns the poor in the Kampongs estates and new villages greatly, has gone up in price. The government has again given way to pressure from Big Business at the expense of the consumers.
The government approval for the increase in the price kerosene from 74 cents to 80 cents is an act which is calculated to add to the already insupportable economic hardships of the poor in Malaysia, who constitute the overwhelming majority in this country.
On 21st December last year, when the Minister of Primary Industries, Datuk Taib Mahmud, announced government approval for the increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and fuel oil following pressures by the five international oil companies in the country, the Minister announced that the government was conscious of the hardships of the poor and for this reason it has decided that kerosene should not go up in price.
Less than two months’ after that announcement, the government has surrendered to Big Business pressure, and we see today the increase in the price of kerosene. What has happened in these two months?
Is the Minister if Primary Industries, Datuk Taib Mahmud, in a position to make a pledge to the poor of Malaysia that for the rest of 1974 there would definitely be no further increase in the price of kerosene?
It the rate that the Ministry of Primary Industries is taking charge of oil prices, it is most likely that in the next few months, there would be another increase in price of kerosene, when the oil companies succeed in getting further government consent for another round of oil price increases.
The Ministry of Primary Industries do not have the expertise and specialised knowledge to match the oil companies’ experts, and this is why in negotiations between the oil companies and the government on price increases, the government officials had to accept the oil companies’ data particulars about oil pricing policies and figures.
This is why such negotiations or discussions for getting government approval for another round of oil price increases should be conducted in public, where any member or public organisation can make contributions.
This is time for all political parties, trade unions, consumers’ organisations, co-operative, societies and associations to unite on a common platform to campaign against another round of oil price increases. I would suggest that the FOMCA – the Federation of Malaysian Consumers’ Association – and its President. Lache Nordin Sopiee, take the initiative to convene such a meeting to protect the interest of the consumers and the poor.