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BN Government should not mislead the public that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from January to September 2007 has risen by only 2% when in reality it has risen by 20%!


Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): BN Government should not mislead the public that the CPI from January to September 2007 has risen by only 2% when in reality it has risen by 20%. In actual fact in the last four months alone, prices of basic food-stuffs have risen by around 10%: such as rice (5-8%), chilli sauce (5-10%), beehoon (5-10%), biscuits (10-15%), chocolate malt drinks (10-18%), UHT milk (10-15%) and milk powder (10-20%). Many Malaysians have been complaining that everything from toll rates to instant noodles have been going up except their salaries.

However the government has been in a state of denial at the adverse impact of food prices on working families. The government continues to pretend that rising fuel prices with the international oil price hitting a record US$ 96 per barrel and rising commodities prices world-wide has not affected prices in Malaysia. This dangerous pre-occupation with denial is irresponsible and unprofessional management of our economy that will only cause suffering to low and middle income working families.

Only a CPI that is accurate and gives a reliable “virtual reality” of the escalating prices of basic commodities throughout the country can give confidence that the government knows how to manage the economy responsibly for the benefit of the people. Clearly such false and misleading picture of a CPI of only 2% when the reality is ten times worse shows the extent of dirty tactics employed by BN in the run-up to the general elections to win at all costs, by hook or by crook.

Even the English daily “The Star” in today’s front-page report, cited 20% increase in CPI from January to September 2007 as a more accurate reflection of the true situation on the ground than the government’s official 2%. It said, “Bread now costs 20 to 30 cent more per loaf, and toll charges may be raised again next year. All over the country, Malaysians are paying more for popular local fare like char kuay teow and roti canai.”

DAP calls for complete reviews of the CPI to reflect reality and not give a false picture that Malaysians are still maintaining their standard of living. The time has come for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to wake up and deal with escalating inflation and how to help Malaysians maintain standard of living. As most firms are also struggling with rising prices, forcing companies to raise salaries beyond their capabilities or labour market forces of demand and supply would not be fair. A fairer method would be to share Petronas oil profits with Malaysians.

RM 6, 000 annual bonuses for all working Malaysians and senior citizens with incomes of less than RM6, 000 monthly

There is grave concern that with the expected increase in fuel prices and toll rates in the North-South Highway next year, the situation will only get worse for working families. Further the government has indicated that it can no longer provide subsidies especially fuel subsidies alone that cost RM 27 billion.

Whilst it may be economically unrealistic to expect any government to perpetually subsidize petroleum and gas without limit, it is socially unrealistic to expect the poor to survive without any assistance once the subsidies are removed. What is economically justifiable can not be socially justifiable if the poor are not given any financial assistance to counter inflationary impact from removal of gas subsidies.

DAP reiterates its proposal that the government gives an annual RM 6,000 Malaysian First Bonus to all working families and senior citizens who earn less than RM 6,000 a month which would enable all Malaysians to deal with rising food prices and inflation at the most efficient level. After all, if Singapore can give poor working families a yearly sum of S$ 2,500, why can’t Malaysia do the same with our oil resources and revenues that earned Petronas RM 76.3 billion last year?



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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