Thursday, June 05, 2008

Oil price hike - the big one

So, it has happened. The much talked about (and dreaded) oil price hike is finally here with us.

And what a whopping big hike it was, too!

Before this, oil price increases had been by only a few sen. 5 sen. 10 sen, at the most. Even then it had still caused grumblings among the rakyat. For, prices of goods and commodities would duly increase too.

But to increase by 78 sen per litre? Now that is unprecedented. Not to mention irresponsible and reckless, if I may add.

Lest we forget, we are an oil producing nation. And the national petroleum company is making profits by the billions of ringgit! I did not say this myself. The government claimed so.

Therefore, something is amiss here. Why do we have to hike our prices to be closer to those of our neighbours up north and down south?

Surely we are different. We must be different. They don’t have oil fields. They don’t have a big oil firm which is consistently listed as one of the most profitable corporate entities in the world.

The quantum of increase means that the rakyat are in for a shock.

First, their disposable income will greatly be reduced.

Then, there is the attendant after-effect of oil price hike: inflation.

As prices of goods and services start to rise, the real value of their income will be shrunk further.

For big-salaried ministers and filthy-rich corporate big shots this is, of course, nothing to lose sleep over. But to ordinary people – lowly-paid civil servants and the kampong folks – their quality of life shall be grossly, adversely affected.

The policy-makers. Didn’t they think of these groups of people?

Meanwhile car owners have to start considering ditching their cars. Fat chance, if we know Malaysians well. They love their rides too much to do that. In any case, the alternative – our public transport systems – are still not up to the mark.

Alternatively, maybe we should switch to gas to power our vehicles – NGV. Now that’s a much more acceptable proposition. NGV is not only cheaper, but also environmentally-friendly.

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