Fuel price hike triggers protests
KUALA LUMPUR: The recent hike in fuel prices has triggered protests here and in some states, with a bigger one being planned in the near future.
Angry consumers are feeling the pinch at a time when they are finding it hard to make ends meet amidst escalating cost of living.
Although the government has been downplaying the effect of the increase, the public is not keeping quiet.
A businessman here, Rahman Ismail, 47, expressing his frustration, said the hike in RON95 and diesel had affected people from the middle- and lower-income group.
"The cost of living has gone up for everyone. People in big cities like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru spend more time using their vehicles and thus spend more money and fuel," he told theantdaily.
He said the promise of more Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) carried no weight as middle-class families were not entitled to it.
"It must be said that nowadays, a RM4,000 income is not enough for a family of four or five in Kuala Lumpur," he said.
Another resident here, K Mohandas, 31, is worried about the “ripple effect” of the price hike, saying it would definitely trigger a rise in the costs of other goods and services.
"Soon after the announcement of the increase, developers are already planning to raise house prices by 10 per cent. For sure, bus fare and food prices are going to go up,” he said.
Meanwhile, a few hundred mostly young people gathered near the Kuala Lumpur City Centre on Sept 6, displaying signs condemning the price hike, with scores of motorists honking in support.
On the same day, hundreds more gathered in Seremban by the roadside waving signs and slogans that read "Thank You Barisan Nasional", in a cynical show of displeasure.
On Sept 7, yet another few hundred turned up near the KB Mall in Kota Baru, Kelantan, protesting the price hike.
NGOs such as the Metered Taxi Drivers Action Group also held protests condemning the government’s move.
A larger demonstration organised by NGOs is also being planned here next weekend, which will also see the participation of the opposition.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a 20 sen fuel price hike on Sept 2 that he said would save the government RM3.3 billion annually.
RON95 is now retailed at RM2.10 a litre while diesel is RM2.