PENANG: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has asked the people to bear with the escalating cost of living, saying that the Government was not being cruel when it reduced the fuel subsidy recently.
The Prime Minister said the Government would do its best to alleviate the peoples burden. (See Stretching Your Ringgit graphic on Page 12)
Masa senang, kita sama-sama senang (we enjoy the good times together) and now during bad times, we have to bear with it together as well.
We are very concerned and we understand their plight, especially during this trying period.
The Government will do whatever it can. For a start, we have announced that the price of fuel will not be increased until the end of the year.
The Government has also decided to reduce the road tax by as much as 80% to help the people, he said when giving out offer letters to successful housebuyers of Crescentia Park affordable homes in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan, at Bukit Jambul here yesterday.
About 2,000 attended the gathering, mostly villagers from the Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency in Seberang Prai.
The villagers had come in the busloads to attend the ceremony.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to explain to the crowd why the Government had to reduce the fuel subsidy, leading to increases in price of some consumer goods.
Abdullah also advised traders not to indiscriminately increase prices, saying that he did not see any reason for them to transfer the cost to consumers.
I was told that when the Penang Water Supply Corporation Sdn Bhd (PBAPP) increased the water rate by three sen per 1,000 litre a few years ago, the price of teh tarik went up by 10 sen.
This does not make sense. Traders have to be sensitive to the peoples plight, he said.
The Prime Minister said the Government would continue providing fuel subsidy but the present situation forced it (the Government) to reduce the subsidy.
On affordable homes for the poor, Abdullah told local authorities to reduce red tape so as not to delay housing projects.
If developers are willing to complete the houses fast, local authorities must help them. In this way, we will make everybody happy.