Sarawak Lorries Transport Association (SLTA) President Jong (seated center) flanked by his association members. (Photo: Borneo Post)

Transportation companies in Sarawak effectively rebuke Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi call for them to reduce prices of good and call his decision to raise fuel price in June as unexpected ‘earthquake’ to the transportation industry.

Sarawak Lorries Transport Association (SLTA)’s president Jong Foh Jit said members were still putting up with very high expenses in vehicles’ spare part including tires and batteries, so they would not consider reviewing their transport charges just yet.

He said the fuel price hike last June was an ‘earthquake’ to the transport industry as the margin of increase was up to RM1 for diesel and it happened unexpectedly, yet the reduction announced by the government recently only amounted to 45 sen!

“It is difficult for us to adjust our charges now unless the government reduce the price to what it was before,” Borneo Post reported Jong as saying.

Although didn’t explicitly blaming government’s decision to follow the price of oil in the world market, Jong said it is one of the reason why they can’t imposed fixed charges.

“Right now the market is not stable. If we adjust our charges today, what if tomorrow the fuel price increases or drop,” Jong told Borneo Post.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi called on traders to voluntarily lower the prices of goods in line with the drop in the fuel retail prices without waiting for government to act against them.

On October 14, Abdullah announced a reduction of 15 sen int he price of petrol to RM2.30 a liter and 20 sen to RM2.20 for a liter of diesel effective Wednesday, 15 October.

This is the third time the government has brought down the fuel prices since it cut subsidies in June.

On October 15, Malaysiakini reported Malaysians generally welcomed the latest reduction in fuel prices, but at the same time blasted the government for not doing enough to keep the prices of foodstuffs and other goods down, pointing the finger at lax and corrupt enforcement.