BARANG NAIK! The price of RON95 petrol will be hiked by 20 sen from midnight today as the government tries to narrow its fiscal deficit – but this will only add to the burden for Malaysians faced with poor public transport options.
The could save the government RM1.1bn this year and RM3.3bn next year, but it is also expected to announce higher BR1M cash payouts at this year’s budget.
In principle, petrol price subsidies only benefit those with cars wheras the BR1M payments go to all low-income households – so this target group is really those who need the subsidy the most. But what about the money that is lost through corruption and illicit outflows? And the ripple effect that a petrol price hike will have on the prices of other essentials?
Malaysia’s middle- and working class are already squeezed by higher house prices (where are the low-cost houses?) while working class wages are suppressed by the policy of allowing cheap and more easily exploited migrant labour.
If your car gives you 7 litres per 100km, this would mean you would have to pay RM1.40 more for the same distance. It basically means your petrol expenditure will rise by 11 per cent.
If you spend RM70 a week on petrol, you will end up paying about RM30 more a month.
Expect petrol prices to get more expensive as reserves of fossil fuels are depleted and non-conventional fossil fuels become more difficult and expensive to extract.
When will we we get better public transport so that we won’t have to rely so heavily on private motor vehicles? One of Mahathir’s greatest follies was to come up with the scheme to produce a ‘national car’ while neglecting public transport such as trains and light rail systems.
Meanwhile, we appear to have made little progress in putting a lid on high-level corruption.