It was announced just recently, to be exact on 16th July 2010, that some essential goods such as sugar, petrol diesel and liquefied petroleum gas or L.P.G., its subsidy were cut.

However, the authorities’ bold move was intended to reduce the government’s expenditure and improve the country’s financial position.

The government’s step which were taken, were not expected to have major effects on the people, so said the Prime Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak.

For example, sugar which increased from RM1.65 to RM1.90, a rise of 25 cents per kilogram, was expected to increase the health of the people, who have been reported to have consumed large amount of sugar. Malaysians are said to be overweight or obese. In fact, it is reported that Malaysians are on the whole 40% overweight.

Therefore, the increase in the price of sugar is a blessing in disguise. Malaysians should in fact not complain too much over the increase in the current price of sugar. According to a statement, which was released from the Prime Minister’s department, the percentage of people in Malaysia suffering from diabetes has now exceeded that of the United States.

Will the increase in the price of sugar see an increase in the price of drinks, especially at mamak stalls, coffee shops and restaurants, all across the whole country?

Malaysian’s especially the older generations, are very fond of drinking hot drinks such as Milo coffee, Nescafe and kopi-o with their usual roti canai or chapatti while they have breakfast.

Teh tarik for example now costs RM1.00 a glass. With the increase of the latest price of sugar, according to calculations made, this popular drink will now cost the vendor RM1.003 to prepare. An increase of not even 0.03 sen. Should the mamak stall owner or restaurant owner envisage to increase your cuppa of teh tarik to RM1.20, do not hesitate to report him to the Consumer Association or the nearest police station to have action taken against him.

Malaysians, as a whole are a patient lot of people. In such situations, they tend to accept increase of 10 sen per cup of coffee or teh tarik with hardly no objections at all. I feel this is a wrong attitude to adopt.

What about roti canai? How has the increase of flour affected it? Currently, the price of a piece of roti canai in most mamak stalls and restaurant is said to be 80 sen. With the increase, the price of each piece of roti canai comes to approximately 0.802 sen.

With this calculation therefore, consumers and avid roti canai consumers should not allow this favorite breakfast of yours to be raised, say to 90 sen per piece. Sorry to say, businessmen are rather unscrupulous. They would like to take advantage of the public and raise the price if they possibly can. It is hoped, that readers will not permit this to happen.

Next, coming to the question of the increase of fuel or petrol by 5 sen per liter. How does it affect us?

With the announcement of the recent increase of petrol by 5 sen, RON 95 which most of us including me use, is now being sold at the pumps at RM1.85. While RON 97, which is large favoured by new cars, I presume is being sold at RM2.10 as compared to RM2.05. An increase of 5 sen.

If drivers feel, the minimal increase affects your petrol budget monthly, then by all means, change to using RON 95 instead of RON 97. Well, it is simple as that, isn’t it? What is there to complain?

It is only but a small increase anyway. By the way, it is said the price of petrol in our country is considered to be one of the cheapest in our region, even after the increase. Go to Singapore, which is just across the Causeway, and find for yourself what I am saying is the truth or otherwise.

The increase in the cost of essential commodities such as sugar and petrol, plus a few essential items such as flour, L.P.G. and diesel, as I said earlier, is very minimal.

Looking at the brighter side of things, the recent increase will result in an overall reduction of government expenditures will eventually allow investment in the nation’s future in education, community development and the creation of job opportunities for the people.

The recent increase of essential commodities as sugar and fuel, may not have caused much hardship to the people as a whole. But whether you are aware or otherwise, it seems to have caused some headaches or problems to the government itself.

The government has recently announced that foreign registered vehicles in the country, must now fill up with the dearer version of petrol which is the RON 97.

Starting from August 1st 2010, vehicles with foreign registration plates, such as vehicles bearing Thailand or Singapore registration plates, can only buy RON 97 petrol. This is necessary the fuel subsidy which the government currently accord to RON 95, are in fact for the benefit of Malaysia drivers, and definitely not for foreigners.

Unless and until steps are taken by the authorities to ensure foreigners do not benefit from this fuel subsidy, the country and the government will stand to be on the losing end. Our government’s effort to subsidise our fuel will then have gone to waste.

It is reported that enforcement officers, that as the 1st August 2010, be stationed at all petrol stations, particularly at border areas in Kedah, Perlis, Johor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak, to ensure that petrol kiosk operators refrain from the ruling of not selling the subsidized RON 95 to foreign registered vehicles.

Domestic Trade Cooperative and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Yaacob said, “Foreigners can no longer fill up RON 95 petrol, priced at RM1.85 per liter. Its sale is solely intended for Malaysian registered vehicles only. Foreigners can only be allowed to fill up with RON 97, which cost RM2.10 per liter”.

This brings about a very interesting situation. What if a foreigner should fancy eating roti canai at his favorite roti canai stall for breakfast?

After all, do not forget, flour is also being subsidized by the government. Will the stall owner refuse his order for roti canai then? Or will he be requested to opt for nasi lemak instead?

Anyway, it is left to be seen how the situation unfolds later on.

Now, coming back to the question of having enforcement officers stationed at petrol stations to ensure that fuel RON 95 is not sold to foreigners, I personally feel it’s going to be a big hassle. It may even be a mission very difficult to enforce.

Anyway, there is a saying, “If there’s a will, there’s always a way”. Nothing, they say, is impossible!

I feel the best way out of the above problem is to set up a third variety of pumps at out petrol stations selling fuel at a different price solely for foreign registered cars. Let’s suggest for instance the 3rd pump selling fuel, say at RM4.50 for foreign registered cars only, beginning from 1st August 2010.

Thus is settle the problem of selling fuel to foreign registered cars and vehicles. Short of banning foreigners from driving into our country, as allowed by the Geneva Convention of 1949 and 1968, there is in reality no other way to enforce the ruling strictly at all.