Malaysians of all races returning from the Chinese New Year holidays received a shock when Dato’ Seri Najib Razak presented them with a big “ang pow”, a big hike in fuel prices. RON95 and RON97 prices went up by 20 sen to RM2.30 (9.5%) and RM2.60 (8.3%) respectively while diesel cost went up by 10 sen to RM2.15 (4.9%).
This follows from the already big hike Malaysians have experienced since January where all types of fuel already increased in price by 20 sen.
While it was painful, Malaysians could perhaps have understood when fuel prices went up for January. It was as a result of an increase in global crude oil prices for the month of December. Brent crude prices went up from US$51.48 to US$56.73 in December 2016.
However, Malaysians cannot understand why the prices were increased for February when the Brent crude price actually declined slightly in January to approximately US$55.86.
Even when we try to second guess that perhaps it’s due to the ringgit depreciation, it also doesn’t add up.
In December 2016, the ringgit depreciated from RM4.38 to RM4.48 for every US Dollar. However, for January 2017, the ringgit is currently trading at approximately RM4.42 to the dollar, which means it has strengthened marginally for the month.
Therefore, the increase in fuel prices cannot be as a result of any increase in crude oil prices or further depreciation of the ringgit.
Hence Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, as both the Finance and Prime Minister, must explain why the price of petrol has increased so significantly despite the above.
The Ministry of Finance must disclose if the Government is actually imposing hidden taxes on the consumers to cover up for Government budget shortfalls?
Barely a week ago, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak said he did not want a situation where ministries use excuses, like “not enough budget” to not implement people-oriented projects. “Not receiving money or not enough budget should not be an excuse for any operating ministries to not start a project or programme,” he added.
If the above the reason for the hefty hike in fuel prices so that the people are forced to pay for the so-called “people-oriented projects”, so that the Najib-BN administration can claim credit?
We call for the full disclosure of the data, formula and exact details on how the fuel price hikes are calculated so that Malaysians know exactly why they have been forced to suffer as a result of the Government’s policies.