Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Malaysia's Anwar promises cheap fuel in historic debate

Malaysia's Anwar promises cheap fuel in historic debate
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday he would lower petrol prices immediately if he came to power, in an unprecedented debate with a government minister.
Anwar clashed with Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek in the country's first ever live television debate between an opposition leader and a minister from the coalition, which has ruled for half a century.
The debate took place even as Anwar's lawyers warned he faced imminent arrest over new accusations of sodomy -- the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago.
Anwar rapped the government over last month's 41 percent fuel price hike which raised the cost of petrol to 2.70 ringgit (0.84 dollars) per litre, and triggered public outrage and a series of protests.
"If we become the next government, we will reduce the price of petrol by 50 sen the next day, bringing oil prices to 2.20," he told the packed auditorium which had erupted into wild applause when he entered.
"Everyone is affected by this price increase and we can reduce it with a 5.0 billion ringgit fund," said the charismatic 60-year-old who was casually dressed in a beige sports jacket and white shirt.
Anwar said nearly half the money could be raised by cutting overcapacity at state electricity provider Tenaga.
Ahmad Shabery, more formally attired in a black jacket and pink shirt, defended the price hike to the audience, which included parliamentarians from both sides of Malaysia's political divide.
"Anwar is exploiting the people's suffering by exploiting their pain in suggesting short-term solutions, but nothing that can help the people in the long-term," he said. MORE

No comments:

Post a Comment