KUALA LUMPUR - Be patient! That is the message Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek is putting across as Malaysians grapple with the latest fuel price increase.
He indicated that there were goodies in store under Budget 2015 that would help offset this.
"It is a very minimal hike in petrol price. Wait for the budget. It will address the burden by increasing BR1M and other measures," he said.
"Be patient - I am confident the budget will stick to the motto of 'rakyat didahulukan' (the people come first).
Speaking to reporters after launching the Malaysian Intellectual Property Awards here, Hasan also gave the assurance that his ministry would be on "24-hour call" to ensure nobody raised the prices of goods and services unfairly.
"Don't fool around with our ministry. We will not hesitate to take stern action," he warned.
Hasan said the fuel subsidy reduction had been done to strengthen the nation's financial reserves and the decision had only been made after many dialogues with the people on the cost of living.
"We went to all the states, and spoke to the grassroots to get their opinions," he said.
"By 2020, God willing, we will have zero budget deficit."
On grouses that the fuel hike took place near Hari Raya Haji, he said it could not be delayed.
"If I wait until after Hari Raya, it will be near Deepavali and the Indians will complain. If I wait till after Deepavali it will be near Christmas and the Christians will be unhappy," he said.
On the possibility of another rally in protest - similar to the one on New Year's Eve - Hasan said that while it was up to the people, he hoped they would be happy with what the Government has done for them.
The price of RON95 petrol and diesel are both up 20 sen per litre to RM2.30 (S$0.90) and RM2.20 respectively.