Sunday, June 22, 2008

Show support, Walk to Work?

The following 2 news articles are in a way contradictory. BN says to support petrol price hike by voters' representatives, but the voters now have to take a bus or even walk to work. Voters are switching from cars to scooters. I suppose others it is from scooters to bicycle. Reality strikes: UBAH GAYA HIDUP!

Monday June 23, 2008

Show your support


KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional MPs attended a three-hour briefing on the restructuring of fuel subsidies at which they were asked to support a motion on price increases which the Government will table in Parliament today.

The closed-door briefing at Angkasapuri yesterday was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Among those who conducted the briefing were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor, Women Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Amirsham Abd Aziz.

Petronas chief executive officer and president Tan Sri Hassan Marican was also present to answer questions concerning fuel subsidies and the need to reduce them.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi then wrapped up the session by giving a 20-minute briefing.

Shahrir will table the motion on the price increase of oil and other goods and on ways to overcome it at the Dewan Rakyat today.

When contacted yesterday, Shahrir said the MPs gave their views on how the Government ought to utilise the contribution from Petronas' revenue.

He said Abdullah had asked the MPs to support the government's motion.

This call comes in view of the possibility of the motion being turned into a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister following the threat by the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) to initiate or support such a vote.

Kinabatangan MP and Backbenchers Club deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said about 90% of Barisan MPs attended the briefing.

Conspicuously missing were the two SAPP MPs.

Bung Mokhtar said more than a quarter of the questions were directed at Petronas.

He described the mood at the briefing as “very good'' but said he was “not 100% satisfied”.

“But at least, we got a basic understanding of the situation,” he added.

Kota Belud MP Datuk Abd Rahman Dahlan said most MPs did not have any problem understanding all aspects of the economy.

He said this would enable them to back the Government when Shahrir tabled the motion today.

“We will support our Prime Minister and thwart any attempt to undermine his leadership,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said such briefings were held from time to time depending on issues.

“This is a Government motion and we thought it best to brief the Barisan MPs first.”

Malaysians prefer public transport, walk after fuel price hike
Malaysia Sun
Sunday 22nd June, 2008

Trading cars for motorcycles, switching to public transport, or simply walking to work - Malaysians are tackling the massive fuel price hike in different ways.

They have settled down to fuel-saving measures after a spurt of protests in the national capital and some other cities saw thousands of people converge on the streets.

As per an announcement by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on June 4, gasoline pump prices jumped 41 percent overnight and diesel prices surged a stunning 67 percent.

This has become a major issue in Malaysia, a prosperous tiger economy with burgeoning farm and factory production. Opposition political parties did their share of protesting too as the government braced to meet the economic challenge the fuel price hike posed.

It compensated the commuters in the form of fuel subsidy to the tune of RM three million (US$900,000).

Trips and travel schedules of ministers have been curtailed. People have been asked to follow a simple life, like be vegetarian, to meet the economic challenge.

The crime chart has since shown that car thieves have turned to stealing petrol.

For a brief period, the authorities ran a separate rate for cars with 'foreign' number plates, mostly from neighbouring Singapore and Thailand, partly to assuage the local sentiments.

'Going public', is how The Star on Sunday headlined a survey that speaks of many people walking to work or taking the public transport.

Women are switching over from cars to riding scooters.

Sales of motorcycle dealers have improved by almost 25 percent with demand now outstripping supply.

Many, including white-collared workers, are in the waiting list of people wanting to buy motorcycles.

Of Indian origin, M. Dharmalingam, 61, who runs a small business in Kuala Lumpur, said that since parking charges had gone up, he uses public transport, saving an estimated RM 20 ($ 6 approx).

Dharmalingam is planning to buy a monthly pass for public transport, which costs RM 100.

The number of vehicles on the roads has also come down drastically.

Indian origin cardiologist Ramesh Singh Veriah finds that he now takes just 10 minutes to drive the 5 km from his home in Bangsar to his workplace at the University Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, which earlier took around 30 minutes.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall recorded a drop of almost 12,000 cars entering the city daily a week after the fuel price hike. A bus company in Putrajaya has recorded a 10 percent increase in the number of passengers.

Daily traffic volume on the busy and choked Penang Bridge has dropped by 7 percent from the previous daily volume of 67,000 vehicles, the newspaper survey said.

Monday June 23, 2008

Separate pumps for foreigners

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has agreed to implement a dual pump system at fuel stations in border areas so that foreigners do not buy fuel at subsidised prices.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, under the separate pump system, local citizens buy fuel at subsidised prices while foreigners had to pay current market prices.

“The system has two benefits; foreigners will pay for petrol at the current price and Malaysians will know the actual market price of petrol,” he said.

Najib said the system was based on Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad’s suggestion.

Shahrir said the fuel station operators were agreeable to the new system. – Bernama

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