- I think the Sabahans will be gravely affected when all subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel are stopped by 1stDecember 2014. With the implementation of the managed float system to determine the nation fuel price, the prices of goods and food in Sabah is open to abuse by irresponsible traders. This scenario can be simplified as follows. If the world fuel price increases in December 2014, the prices of goods and food in Sabah will go up. But if the world fuel price decreases in January 2015, the prices of those items will remain as it was in December 2014. The current trend in Sabah is that the increase of fuel price will definitely elevate the price of goods and food but the price of the latter has never come down after that. Coupled with the cabotage policy which exists in Sabah, the price of goods and food in Sabah will increase greatly with the stop of fuel subsidies and this will burden the Sabahans especially the lower income group.
- The prime minister explained that the consumers and the people would directly benefit from the managed float system effective from 1st December 2014. I think that is not a reasonable explanation. Subsidies are meant to help the people. If those fuel subsidies are stopped, in what way would it directly benefit the people especially the lower income group?
- I remember it well that each time the government increased the nation fuel price, the government would always issue warnings of criminal prosecution to traders not to raise prices of goods and food indiscriminately. Yet, despite those warning, the price of goods and food in Sabah soared high. Now just imagine when the fuel subsidies are stopped. Although the government will definitely issue the same warnings again, I predict those warnings would not effectively prevent irresponsible traders to raise price of goods and food unreasonably in Sabah.
- I assume that after this many government and pro-government economists will come up with many theories and reasons in support of the cabinet’s decision to stop the fuel subsidy. But I wonder whether they know what the Malaysians, especially the Sabahans, are feeling each time the prices of goods and food are raised. Expensive goods and food burdens the Malaysians.
- When the government decided to increase the nation fuel price, I often read in the media about our ministers advising people to change their lifestyle so that their budget would fit the current situation. Yet, those ministers have never changed their lifestyle despite fuel price being increased a few times in recent years. This indicates the insensitivity of those ministers to the people’s problem.
- Hence, I urge the prime minister and his cabinet to withdraw their decision to stop the fuel subsidy for the benefit of the Malaysians, especially the Sabahans.
- Thank you.
PAS Sabah Deputy Commissioner III
22nd November 2014