PETROL burns freely last night. Thousands of car owners lined up at every petrol station in the country with only one common objective - to fill their tanks before the petrol pump price increases to RM2.70 (petrol) and to RM2.58 (diesel).
I took a ride just to see how the people were reacting to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's announcement at 5pm yesterday. At one petrol station, I talked to car owners for about half an hour before the 12 midnight deadline.
Since the queue were long and non-stop, I reckon thousands of ringgit of petrol were burning unproductively as the car owners waited in line. A 78 sen raise for petrol price means almost a 41 per cent increase. As for diesel, the jump was almost 65 per cent.
Many motorists were emotional and vocal. They just wouldn't want to listen to the Government's standard response pertaining to the pump price. It was quite apparent to me that they were upset, angry and disappointed.
These are some of the comments I gathered:
* kerajaan kita tak berhati perut!
* tak boleh buat beransur-ansur kah?
* saya pakai kereta Perodua Kancil. Kenaikkan ini menjejaskan hidup saya
* kalau macam ni, macam mana nak pergi cuti dan jalan-jalan cari makan
* What! They think we are millionaires ah!
* I regret voting the Barisan Nasional and put them back into power
* Is this how they return our faith and trust?
* BN menang pilihanraya, rakyat menderita
* Memang betullah orang kata BN tu maknya Barang Naik!
* Kalau ya pun nak naikkan harga, takkan tak boleh buat berperingkat
* Dahlah naikkan harga minyak, RTM pula cuba nak bagi hati kita sedap tetapi mereka tak ikhlas
* Tak boleh pakailah dia ni!
* Kita kena ajar BN di pemilihan akan datang
* Menteri memang mudah cakap, tetapi kita rakyat biasa yang bisa
* Dengan cara macam ni BN harap nak kembali berkuasa di Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Perak dan Selangor? Pergi jalan dah!
* Kerajaan dah bayangkan nak naik harga, tetapi tak sangka sampai begini!
* Apa dah jadi?
I also received text messages, most of them not complimentary at all. A few were abusive and
rude. There were some colourful language too. Whatever the justification, the ordinary folks are not convinced that the whole exercise was done "in the best interest of the nation."
I wonder whether is this really so? Will things turn ugly in the ensuing days and weeks?