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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Price hikes top list of concerns

An online poll by FMT reveals that respondents are most concerned about escalating prices of essential items and least concerned about swapping refugees.

PETALING JAYA: The bread-and-butter issue of price hikes ranked above all other concerns such as the education system and race politics, according to an online poll by FMT.

The 10-day poll, which saw 3,786 respondents voting, closed at midnight yesterday.

A total of 1,913 or 51% of the respondents chose price hikes as their biggest concern while 1,002 or 26% picked “petty or race politicking”. Only 779 or 21% were worried about the standard of education.

Prices of essential items had been increased over the past several weeks as part of the government’s move to lessen the subsidy load, which is expected to double from RM10.32 billion to RM20.58 billion this year.

On May 4, the government announced that the price of RON97 fuel would be raised to RM2.90 – up 20 sen since the last increase in April. Five days later, the price of sugar went up by 20 sen to RM2.30 per kg, a 10% hike from the previous RM2.10 per kg.

Quelling concerns that the price of the more widely used RON95 petrol would also go up, the government last week announced that the prices for RON95, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas would be maintained for the time being.

On Monday, the government announced a 7% hike in electricity tariff beginning June. However, this would not affect about 75% of the population who utilised less than 300 kWh per month.

The refugee swap between the Malaysian and Australian governments seemed to be of little concern to readers. Only 1% or 48 respondents clicked on this.

Similarly, only 44 respondents or 1% said that they were concerned about errant motorists breaking traffic rules.

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