KONGRES PKR ...LIVE !!! -----> cakkk kat sebelah
Hari terakhir perbahasan Kongres LIVE .... !!!!
Jadual 3 hari KONGRES - DISINI

HOME [no2umno]

Jan 30, 2008

Rising prices fuel protests

MALAYSIA: Rising prices fuel protests - 30/01/2008
ABC Radio Australia

Malaysia's opposition parties have condemnned the arrest of 56 people at a recent demonstration against rising prices, saying it was a sign of government paranoia ahead of general elections. The rally is the latest in an unprecedented series of street protests was aimed at highlighting public anger over rising food and fuel prices ahead of the polls expected to be held in March.

Presenter - Sen Lam Speaker - Datuk Kamarrudin Jaffar, federal member of parliament for the opposition PAS.

JAFFAR: They were released on the day itself around midnight, around ten of them were released, and that was after a very tough argument. They had to deal with the police in a police station in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. So I understand that ten were released on the night itself, but the other 46 were brought to court were charged and we had to spend the whole day arguing in court with the prosecutors when the police and finally they were released on bail for 1,000 ringgit each.

LAM: So, the demonstrators had gathered because of rising prices? Is this mainly food and fuel prices?

JAFFAR: Food, fuel, toll rates, for the highways in Kuala Lumpur and the general frustration of increasing cost of things, including school fees, which the government in the budget presented last September, said they were would be no more school fees, but the parents found out at the early year in January where our school starts, that we have to pay all those kind of extra fees, association fees, library fees, toilet fees and all those kind of things.

LAM: The government says that these protest rallies are held for political reasons, given that a general election is looming. What do you say to that? I mean, the government claims that it's doing all it can to keep prices down?

JAFFAR: No, the reality is that the right for assembly, the right to have peaceful assembly has always been something illegal in Malaysia, as far as the Opposition Parties and groups are concerned. So whatever assembly on whatever matter that we intend or plan to do in public have always been considered as illegal by the government. Regarding our assemblies and connection with the elections, you know, regardless of whether the elections are coming in very soon this March or if it's going to be a year away, which it should be because we have another year of parliamentary life actually. But we do rallies, we do assemblies, we do public forums and meetings whenever there are issues and there are real issues at the beginning of the year.

LAM: So what are some of the other issues that you think might loom large in the coming elections? What are some of the issues that will concern Malaysians?

JAFFAR: Generally it is the state of the economy, it is the very wide differential between the incomes of the very rich and the very poor. It is the feeling that the government has not been really providing employment to the people as it used to, many years ago. So there's a feeling of frustration and there's a feeling of the current prime minister not really providing the leadership that the country under Mahathir, for whatever its worth, whatever his other problems, he used to give to the country.

LAM: What about some Malaysians saying that under Barisan Nasional at least, Malaysia as a country has prospered in its 50 year rule. Do you think Malaysians might forget that at the ballot box?

JAFFAR: Yes, because most Malaysians now consider that what we are supposed to be as a nation is not something that we really feel. My point is simply that the Malaysians now, the general Malaysians, the majority of the Malaysians feel that there's really nothing in their pockets. The government may announce major projects, and the current Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi is very keen and fond of launching new projects, corridoors for development in the whole of the country. But I think the real feeling on the ground among the majority of the people is that their pockets are empty.

LAM: So, are you saying then that these projects have only benefitted very few - members of the elite?

JAFFAR: Yes, and it is worse so now, compared to several years ago. So, that even that's why in our calculation, the business class, the business groups which in Malaysia we can quite crudely identify that with the Chinese community, we sense that the Chinese community will be the first to feel that the government is not performing. Then the Malays as a whole feel that crime rates have gone up, life in the rural areas are getting tougher, because of the rate of inflation and the cost of things. And now we have the Indians feeling that they are deprived and they've held a very major rally in Kuala Lumpur at the end of November last year. So I think Malaysians as a whole are feeling very, very detached from the government nowadays.


Posting terkini

Blog Archive