KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Armed with placards and banners, a small group of about thirty youths took to the streets of the capital today to demand that Putrajaya call off its latest petrol price increase.
Led by pro-opposition NGO Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), the protesters threatened to expand their rally into a nationwide series if their demands are not met.
“Fuel is a basic necessity in a developing country that depends on motorised vehicle, people need to realise how crucial this is,” said student activist Adam Adli, who was attending the afternoon protest as a supporter.
The group also argued that the price hike, the first since the last increase in 2010, flies in the face of a pledge purportedly made before the last general election by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself.
“The prime minister himself said before the general election that the fuel price will not go up. So he is a liar,” Angkatan Pembebasan Bangsa Malaysia (APBM) member Omar Mohamad said.
About 30 youths showed up at the afternoon demonstration today, which as held at a traffic light junction on Jalan Ampang, a short distance away from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
They carried various banners and signs, with one reading:”Potong Subsidi Korporat Raksasa, Bukan Subsidi Rakyat Biasa” (Translation: Cut corporate monsters’ subsidy, not the regular citizens’.
They received honks from passing vehicles, especially taxis, as a form of support.
The price of RON95 petrol and diesel was raised by RM0.20 per litre beginning Tuesday, to RM2.10 and RM2.00 per litre respectively.
RON97 petrol also went up by 15 sen, allegedly due to various global issues such as the United States’ planned strike on Syria and the ringgit’s recent poor performance.
The fuel price hike was made as part of its move to consolidate its fiscal position, and reduce the federal government current account deficit-to-GDP ratio to 3 per cent by 2015.
But despite the public outcry, global ratings firm Fitch came out to say that the subsidy reductions were not the substantive reforms it was calling for when it downgraded the credit outlook on Malaysia.
- Politics & Government