Why is kerosene being sold at 80 cents a gallon?

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at a DAP Public Rally at Kapar, Selangor, on Saturday, 15th June 1974 at 9 p.m.

1. Why is kerosene being sold at 80 cents a gallon?

On 9th May, 1974, when the Minister of Primary Industries, Datuk Haji Talib Mahmud, called a press conference to announce government approval for oil price increases, he said that the government would only permit the increase of five cents for kerosene, from 71 cents a gallon to 76 cents a gallon.

However, wherever we go now, kerosene is being sold at 80 cents a gallon. Had the government approved a further increase in the price of kerosene by four cents, and if so, when was this increase approves, and why no government announcement was made.

If the government had no approved the increase in the price of kerosene to 80 cents, why are kerosene being retailed at this price?

The Minister of Primary Industries, Datuk Taib Mahmud, owes the people, especially the poor and the lower income groups who use kerosene, an explanation.

It would appear that the international oil companies, which have their headquarters in America, or London, are so powerful in Malaysia that they can increase ail prices as they like, or where they cannot do so, they manipulate the supplies in such a fashion as to engineer chronic shortages, like the case of diesel, as to compel government surrender to them and allow price increases.

The Minister of Primary Industries, Datuk Taib Mahmud, should stop being soft with the international oil companies, and bring them firmly into line to put the interests of Malaysian consumers over and above the greed of the companies to obtain maximum profits.

The DAP want a public inquiry into the economies of oil pricing in Malaysia, where the international oil companies must publicly prove to the satisfaction of Malaysian consumers that their present oil price levels are justified.

2. DAP calls on Tun Razak and the National Front leaders not to misuse government power for political ends

There is a distinction between government and party, which, in the recent weeks, seems to have escaped leaders of the ruling party.

In a democracy, the ruling party should scrupulously avoid making use of government powers and funds for party political purposes.

We have been told that at the official opening of the National Development Pesta at Stadium Negara on June 20 by the Prime Minister, Tun Razak, a hundred National Front flag bearing the new symbol of scale, would be displayed. This is surely abusing a government or national occasion for a party purpose.

Tun Razak should issue stern instructions to his subordinates not to make use of government functions or powers for party political purposes, however tempting this may be, if the proprieties of democracy are to be upheld.