Protesters reject fuel price hikes, call for subsidy increases

Source – March 17, 2012
Protesters reject fuel price hikes during rally at DPRD building in Yogyakarta - March 26, 2012 (Tempo)
Protesters reject fuel price hikes during rally at DPRD building in Yogyakarta - March 26, 2012 (Tempo)

Tomi Sujatmiko, Yogya – Scores of housewives from the Political Union of the FIXX Poor (Persatuan Politik Rakyat Miskin, PPRM) demonstrated against the government’s proposed fuel (BBM) price hikes in front of the Gedung Agung Presidential Palace in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Saturday March 17.

Uniquely, the protesters also brought jerrycans with the message “Reject the BBM increases” written on them.

In speeches, the housewives lamented the government policy to increase fuel prices, declaring their firm objections to the policy because it will make the ordinary people suffer even more. They also criticised the planned compensation of direct cash assistance (BLT) as half-baked.

“The BLT policy will be used to fool the people. Providing such compensation will not be able to compensate for people’s needs post the fuel price hike. The people will in fact suffer further because the price of basic necessities will sour”, said one of the speakers.

Action coordinator Ari Lamondjong meanwhile said that the fuel price hikes will trigger a rise in the inflation rate and increases in the price of basic commodities, transportation and the like. The government’s reasons for raising fuel prices in order to save money from the state budget also make no sense.

“This is the umpteenth time BBM prices have been increased, and demonstrates to us that instead of protecting the ordinary people, the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono and the parliament have chosen to protect rich people and make the poor even poorer”, said Lamondjong.

The PPRM is demanding that the government immediately cancel the planned increase to fuel prices and electricity rates because it will add to the burden of people’s lives. “The government must increase the state budget allocation for people’s subsidies such as subsidies for education, healthcare and the like. Revoke all discriminative laws that fail to side with the ordinary people”, he said. (Aie)

[Bawa Jerigen, Ibu Rumah Tangga Tolak Harga BBM Naik – Sabtu, 17 Maret 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]